Amadeus Quartet

Biography

Active: 1947 - 1987 ; London, England
The Amadeus Quartet developed a reputation as one of the finest string quartets from the second half of the twentieth century. Its tradition and style were Viennese and its repertory was largely Austro-German: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms were at the core, though it performed works by Smetana, Franck, Bruckner, Bartók, Britten, Tippett, and other twentieth century composers. They also regularly performed quintets and sextets Read more (Mozart, Brahms, Schubert, etc.), usually adding cellist William Pleeth and/or violist Cecil Aronowitz. The Amadeus was one of the longest-lived quartets, performing for 40 years without a personnel change, and it was also among the most popular string quartets in England, Germany, the United States, and parts of Europe. It made numerous recordings -- many still available -- for several labels, including DG, Decca, and EMI.

The Amadeus Quartet was formed in London in 1947 and first named the Brainin Quartet after first violinist (and ensemble leader) Norbert Brainin. Owing to their Jewish heritage, three of the group's members -- Brainin, Siegmund Nissel (second violinist), and Peter Schidlof (violist) -- fled Vienna after Hitler's 1938 annexation of Austria. The three players later met English cellist Martin Lovett to complete what would become one of the most celebrated quartets of the twentieth century.

Its first concert took place at Dartington International Summer School (a music festival, as well as music school) on July 13, 1947. That performance was given under the group's original name, but on January 10, 1948, it gave its premiere concert as the Amadeus Quartet at London's Wigmore Hall.

By the early '50s, the ensemble had achieved international recognition, as tours of the Americas, Asia, Japan, and Australia regularly garnered critical acclaim. Its early recordings were also drawing positive responses from both critics and public. In 1960 Nissel became ill, for a time halting the ensemble's activities. He suffered a second serious sickness in 1981, causing the now-celebrated group to play as a trio until his recovery.

Beside its considerable recording activity (the Amadeus Quartet was said to have made some 200 recordings during its 40-year association), the players also taught: in 1978 they began teaching at the Hochschule in Cologne, Germany, and for the last two years of the group's existence (1986-1987) they taught at London's Royal Academy of Music. In 1987 Schidlof suddenly died. The other members decided he could not be replaced and disbanded. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 44 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Haydn: The Amadeus Quartet Recordings, Vol. 6
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 21426 Release Date: 04/07/2017   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Quartet
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  • 2.
    The Amadeus Quartet Recordings, Vol. 5: Romanticism
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 21425 Release Date: 01/06/2017   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner,  Robert Schumann,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Conrad Hansen,  Heinrich Geuser,  Cecil Aronowitz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Quartet
    On sale! $59.99
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  • 3.
    Deutsche Grammophon: The Mono Era (1948-1957)
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002457272 Release Date: 03/18/2016   Number of Discs: 51
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Stefan Askenase,  Shura Cherkassky,  Halina Czerny-Stefanska,  Basile Bolotine  ... 
    Conductor:  Karel Ancerl,  Karl Böhm,  Serge Jaroff,  Leopold Ludwig  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Quartet,  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $135.98
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  • 4.
    Schubert: The Edition, Vol. 1
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002447802 Release Date: 02/12/2016   Number of Discs: 39
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Elena Kremer,  Emil Gilels,  Oleg Maisenberg,  Valery Afanassiev  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Eduard Melkus,  Wolfgang Sawallisch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Melos String Quartet Stuttgart,  Amadeus Quartet  ... 
    On sale! $116.98
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  • 5.
    111: The Collector's Editions [111 CDs]
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002422702 Release Date: 12/11/2015   Number of Discs: 111
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Lorin Maazel,  Franz Konwitschny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Amadeus Quartet,  Paris Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $299.98
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  • 6.
    Decca Sound  – Mono Years 1944 -1956
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002280602 Release Date: 04/07/2015   Number of Discs: 53
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Maurice Ravel,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Wilhelm Backhaus,  Clifford Curzon,  Alfredo Campoli,  Henry Datyner  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Roger Desormičre,  Karl Münchinger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Paris Conservatoire Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris  ... 
    On sale! $199.98
    CD: $183.99
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  • 7.
    Haydn: String Quartets Op 54 & Op 55 / Amadeus Quartet
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 437134 Release Date: 12/17/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Performer:  Martin Lovett,  Peter Schidlof,  Siegmund Nissel,  Norbert Brainin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Quartet
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  • 8.
    The Westminster Legacy
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001999302 Release Date: 02/18/2014   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Sena Jurinac,  Lucretia West,  Hans Loeffler,  Frederick Guthrie  ... 
    Conductor:  Hermann Scherchen,  Pierre Monteux,  René Leibowitz,  Erich Leinsdorf  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Vienna Academy Chamber Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $119.98
    CD: $101.99
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  • 9.
    The RIAS Amadeus Quartet Recordings Vol 2 - Schubert, Berlin 1950-1964
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 21428 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Quartet
    CD: $17.99
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  • 10.
    Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Smetana: String Quartets
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001930402 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Bedrich Smetana,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Quartet
    On sale! $13.95
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  • 11.
    The Rias Amadeus Quartet Recordings Vol. 1: Beethoven
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 21424 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Quartet
    On sale! $59.99
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  • 12.
    Mozart 111 [55-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001766872 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Emil Gilels,  Elena Gilels,  Maurizio Pollini  ... 
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock,  James Levine,  Herbert von Karajan,  Marc Minkowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $164.49
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  • 13.
    Brahms: Complete Chamber Music [11-CD Collector's Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001725902 Release Date: 10/16/2012   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Augustin Dumay,  Maria-Joao Pires,  Christian Ferras,  Pierre Barbizet  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet,  Hagen String Quartet,  Amadeus Quartet
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  • 14.
    Haydn: Emperor Quartet; Mozart: Quartets K 465 & 428 / Amadeus Quartet
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5056 Release Date: 02/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Quartet
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    On sale! $24.99
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  • 15.
    Schubert: String Quartets D 887 & D 804 / Amadeus Quartet
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 459013 Release Date: 08/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Quartet
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 16.
    Britten, Schubert: String Quartets / Amadeus Quartet
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93706 Release Date: 05/25/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten,  Franz Schubert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Quartet
    CD: $17.99
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  • 17.
    Mozart: The String Quartets / Amadeus Quartet [6-CD Collector's Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001408002 Release Date: 03/30/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Quartet
    Recommendation
    On sale! $35.98
    CD: $32.99
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  • 18.
    Mozart: Hunt Quartet;  Haydn: Emperor Quartet / Amadeus Qt
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 410866 Release Date: 12/17/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Quartet
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  • 19.
    Haydn: String Quartets Op 71, 74, 77, 103 / Amadeus Quartet
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 429189 Release Date: 11/16/2009   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Quartet
    CD: $34.99
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  • 20.
    Beethoven: String Quartets Op. 59 No 1 & Op. 74 / Amadeus Quartet
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 469028 Release Date: 09/18/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Peter Schidlof,  Norbert Brainin,  Siegmund Nissel,  Martin Lovett
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Quartet
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 21.
    Mozart: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, A Musical Joke / Amadeus Qt
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 400065 Release Date: 02/24/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Manfred Klier,  Rainer Zepperitz,  Gerd Seifert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Quartet
    CD: $17.99
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  • 22.
    Schubert: Death And The Maiden, Quartettsatz / Amadeus Qt
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 410024 Release Date: 02/13/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Quartet
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  • 23.
    Mozart: Piano Quartets, Horn Quintet / Curzon, Brain
    Label: London/Decca Historic Series   Catalog: 425960 Release Date: 12/07/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Max Gilbert,  Philip Burton,  Sydney Griller,  Dennis Brain  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Griller String Quartet,  Amadeus Quartet
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  • 24.
    Mozart: Wind Quartets, Wind Quintets / Amadeus Quartet
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 437137 Release Date: 11/29/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Peter Schidlof,  Martin Lovett,  Andreas Blau,  Norbert Brainin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Quartet
    On sale! $24.99
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  • 25.
    Mozart: Quartet In A Major, K 464;  Beethoven
    Label: Medici Masters   Catalog: 7 Release Date: 08/28/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Siegmund Nissel,  Martin Lovett,  Peter Schidlof,  Norbert Brainin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Quartet
    CD: $15.99
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