Strub Quartet

8.99 €

The Strub quartet was regarded as one of the best string quartets in Germany. These rare performances for German Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft have evidently languished in obscurity for decades, being issued here for the first time.

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STRUB QUARTET plays Schubert and Westerman – Wartime German Radio Recordings

1-4. SCHUBERT: String Quintet in C major, D.956 [50:31]
Recorded · 06 April 1941 · Leipzig · Senderaum II · Reichssender Leipzig · Radio Studio Recording
Strub Quartet: Max Strub · 1st violin, Herman Hubl · 2nd violin, Hermann Hirschfelder · viola, Hans Münch-Holland · cello, Hans Schrader · 2nd cello

5-7. WESTERMAN, GERHART VON: String Quartet, Op.8, No.2 [21:16]
Recorded · 23 June 1943 · Berlin · Masurenallee · Haus des Rundfunks · Saal 2 · Reichssender Berlin · Radio Studio Recording
Strub Quartet: Max Strub · 1st violin, Herman Hubl · 2nd violin, Hermann Hirschfelder · viola, Hans Münch-Holland · cello

Additional Information

Article number: MC 4002
Release date: 02 May 2014
UPC barcode: 0791154050545
Total time: 71:47

Producer and Audio Restoration: Lynn Ludwig
Booklet Notes: Michael Waiblinger
Design: Alessia Issara
Photographs: German Radio Archive
With special thanks to Tully Potter
From the Original Masters · © 2014 Meloclassic

Max Strub was born on September 28, 1900 in Mainz, Germany. The son of Otto Strub and Ida Göhringer. His father was a passionately enthusiastic violinist by inclination and a considerably less enthusiastic photographer by profession. He began to study violin with a local teacher Stauffer and he took part in a festival pageant called Mozart at the Court of the Elector Emmerich Joseph in Mainz. In 1917 he was accepted to attend the master-class of Bram Eldering (1865–1943) at the Cologne Conservatory. The Dutch Eldering had studied with Hubay in Brussels and had followed him to Budapest, where he played as violist in the Hubay-Popper Quartet. Eldering went in 1888 to Berlin to improve his skills under the guidance of Joseph Joachim. Between 1891 and 1894 he was concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. From 1899 he taught at the Amsterdam Conservatory and from 1903 until his death at the Cologne Conservatory; among his students notably included Adolf Busch, Siegfried Borries, and Wilhelm Stross. Eldering died during an air raid in Cologne on June 17, 1943. In one of his first public performances (Brahms double concerto), Otto Klemperer chose Strub for the violin part, at this time still a student at the Cologne Conservatory, and only a year or so younger than the cellist Emanuel Feuermann who resisted such a collaboration, maintaining that to appear with a student could be damaging to his career. In 1918 Strub won the Berlin State Academy of Music’s Mendelssohn Prize, in connection with a concert under Otto Klemperer, where he played the Brahms Violin Concerto. Strub recalled a performance under Klemperer: “On hand was the original score whereby we observed the tied bow markings. I still hear the Air, as the strings began to play without drawing a vibrato, playing only with an intensive, inner motion. I see Klemperer’s expressive concentration appeared to demand his entire spiritual and physical energy.”

In 1919 Eldering encouraged Strub to form his first string quartet with Joseph Krips (2nd violin), Rudolph Nel (viola) and Hans Schrader (cello), those string principals of the Cologne Chamber Orchestra. After one final year at the Conservatory he toured Germany and Italy as a soloist until 1921 when Fritz Busch offered him the Concertmaster position of the Stuttgart Opera Orchestra. Leaving Stuttgart in 1922, Strub became principal violinist of the Dresden State Opera when Fritz Busch became the music director. A position he hold until 1925. On July 1, 1922 he married Hilde Neuffer, they divorced later in their marriage in 1932. On September 9, 1922 he took part in a performance of Schönberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with Hans Wilhelm Steinberg, Emanuel Feuermann, Emil Wehsener and Alfred Völcker under Otto Klemperer in Cologne. In 1923 he joined the Dresden String Quartet as 1st violinist (2nd violinist Erdmann Warwas, violist Alfred Spitzner, cellist Georg Wille) after Gustav Havemann resigned. In 1926 Strub joined the faculty of the Municipal Conservatory of Weimar. He then joined the Weimar Piano Trio with pianist Bruno Hinze-Reinhold and cellist Walter Schulz in 1927. Strub was latter replaced by Hans Bassermann after Strub resigned from his teaching position at the Weimar Conservatory in 1930. He was one of the first German violinists which performed modern repertoire such as Glazunov’s Violin Concerto (1923), Bartok’s Violin Sonata No.1 (1924), Darius Milhaud’s Sonata for two violins with Gustav Mraczek (1925) and Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 1 (1929).When Klemperer went to the Berlin Kroll Opera in 1928, Strub became his co-leader with Josef Wolfsthal. Klemperer’s performances and their modern mise-en-scène were ahead of their time and raised the opposition by conservative circles. In the highly charged political atmosphere during the late days of the Weimar Republic, public pressure made the general administrator of the Prussian state theatres Heinz Tietjen realize, that the administration could not afford the funding of three opera houses in Berlin. Despite Klemperer’s protests, the Kroll Opera was finally closed on 3 July 1931 with the last performance of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. In 1928 he became the youngest professor of violin at Berlin School of Music, initially as an assistant to Carl Flesch and on September 30, 1934 as his successor. Strub lived in the Berlin apartment, at Lützowufer 10, where he gave harbourage to composers such as Aaron Copland and Roger Sessions in 1931. Sessions wrote that Klemperer would conduct his violin concerto – when it was finished – and that that Strub wanted to play it with other orchestras as well. Sessions mentioned a deadline of March 1, 1932, for the completion of the concerto in order that Strub play it. But May 1932, Strub had had a breakdown and could not play in that spring. Strub’s situation furnished Sessions an excuse to tell others why the work was postponed; of course, it was still not completed.

In 1932, the German pianist Elly Ney founded her Piano Trio, consisting of Strub and Ludwig Hoelscher as cellist. In 1934 he began the process of rebuilding his own string quartet with Jost Raba (2nd violin), Walter Trampler (viola) and Ludwig Hoelscher (cello). This change ushered in the most successful period the four men were to know. They made annual tours of the European continent and was soon regarded as one of the best string quartets in Germany. This quartet collapsed in 1939 on Trampler’s emigration to US. In 1935 he was also part of a Piano Trio with Friedrich Wührer (piano) and Paul Grümmer (cello). At the Reich’s Düsseldorf music congress on May 24, 1938 Strub appeared in Boris Blacher’s Violin Concerto. He played the Brahms Double concerto with the cellist Ludwig Hoelscher and the Vienna Symphony under Karl Böhm in Vienna on 13 December 1938. In 1939 Strub started a new Strub Quartet with Hermann Hubl as second violinist, Hermann Hirschfelder as violist and Hans Münch-Holland as cellist. Strub also kept busy leading his eminent quartet during the war, and reviews of the ensemble’s performances during those years exist in abundance. He gave a chamber-music recital with his eminent colleague Walter Gieseking in a Hannover concert hall in early April 1940. The Gieseking-Strub recital was arranged by the National Socialists’ “Kraft durch Freude”-Kulturgemeinde program. Beginning with Schubert’s Sonatina in G minor, the program continued with Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata and Hans Pfitzner’s Sonata in E minor. Pfitzner was a friend of both Strub’s and Gieseking’s, and he dedicated one work to “My dear Max Strub”, which was the String Quartet in C minor, op. 50. Pfitzner also composed his Duo, Op 43, for violin, cello and small orchestra, dedicating it to the Strub and Hoelscher. The chamber recital with Strub concluded with Gieseking’s own Variations on a Theme by Grieg, written for (or at least published for) piano and flute or violin. Erich Limmert of the Hannoverscher Anzeiger reported the following after this latest performance: “The chance to hear famous soloists together in a chamber-music recital is a rare event. And when two artists on the level of Walter Gieseking and Max Strub give a sonata recital, then expectations of music lovers are exceptionally high.” Once again, Strub, involved himself in the premiere performance of Gieseking’s Kleine Musik für drei Violinen, only on this occasion by having three of his pupils play the piece—from manuscript—during a “Kammermusik-Abend” held in the Theatersaal at the Staatliche Akademische Hochschule für Musik in Berlin on 24 June 1940. The pupils, Hans-Ulrich Tiesler, Max Kayser, and Franz Hopfner, were participants in Strub’s Violin and Chamber Music classes.

Gieseking and Strub would team up to give another recital again sometime in early 1941, making their first appearance together in Berlin. Another all-German program, they played music by Brahms, Schubert and Pfitzner. In 1942 Strub was made honorary member of the Societa del Quartetto in Milano by Alfredo Amman, the president of the most important concert association in Milan, after the Strub quartet performed a complete cycle of Beethoven’s string quartets at Conservatorio G. Verdi. He also found piano trio partners in Adrian Aeschbacher and the cellist Gaspar Cassado. They recorded a few works for the German Third Reich Broadcasting Corporation in Hamburg, which we released on Meloclassic MC 3001, and made a recording for Deutsche Grammophon in 1948. And in 1942, Gieseking joined Strub during one of the latter’s three solo recitals, to play the Pfitzner Sonata in E minor again. Having been recognized as one of the regimes’ most important violinists—and, like Gieseking, Pfitzner and other elite figures, ultimately included on the Nazis’ late-war “God-gifted” list – Strub, too, would continue his career within the Reich until Germany’s defeat, fulfilling propagandistic engagements such as a tour through occupied France in 1943. Consequently, his history during the National Socialist era would be found far from clean after the war. His final performance before the war ended in 1945, was in Pfitzner’s Violin Concerto with the Philharmonic under Joseph Keilberth on January 4, 1945. He fled with members of the Berlin Philharmonic to Prague, there he was arrested by the Gestapo and later released, captured by the Czechs and Russians eventually flee Czechoslovakia on foot by crossing into Wels, Austria with one of his two violins. His Stradivarius dated 1716 was confiscated by the Russians a few days before and was never returned. In Austria he had to appear before an U.S. military court martial without any further punishment. Resuming his concert career, he appeared both as a soloist and as a recitalist with the German pianist Hans Richter-Haaser. Both formed another Piano Trio with the cellist Hans Münch-Holland in the 1950s. In 1947 he took over as director of master-classes for violin, interpretation and chamber music at the Northwest German Academy of Music in Detmold. In 1951, owing to the sudden death of the second violinist Hubl and the departure of Hirschfelder, Strub had to replace the open positions with Otto Schad (2nd violin) and Franz Bayer (viola). It was a difficult prospect to replace long-standing quartet members. The remaining quartet continued to perform, including a performance for Pope Pius XII in 1952, but eventually dissolved in 1953. Max Strub died on March 23, 1966 in Bad Oeynhausen, Germany.

Membership dates of the Strub Quartet:

• 1929-1933: Max Strub, Joseph Krips, Rudolph Nel, Hans Schrader

• 1934-1938: Max Strub, Jost Raba, Walter Trampler, Ludwig Hoelscher

• 1939-1951: Max Strub, Hermann Hubl, Hermann Hirschfelder, Hans Münch-Holland

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