Haydn: String Quartet in C 'Emperor'
Mozart: String Quartet in C, K465
The Amadeus Quartet was a world famous string quartet founded in 1947. Because of their Jewish origin, violinists Norbert Brainin, Siegmund Nissel and Peter Schidlof (later violist) were driven out of Vienna after Hitler’s Anschluss of 1938. Brainin and Schidlof met in a British internment camp on the Isle of Man; many Jewish refugees had the misfortune of being confined by the British as “enemy aliens” upon seeking refuge in the UK. Brainin was released after a few months, but Schidlof remained in the camp, where he met Nissel. Finally Schidlof and Nissel were released, and the three of them were able to study with violin teacher Max Rostal. It was through Rostal that they met cellist Martin Lovett, and in 1947 they formed the Brainin Quartet, which was renamed the Amadeus Quartet in 1948. The group gave its first performance at the Wigmore Hall in London on 10 January 1948 then toured extensively throughout Europe, Canada, USA, Japan, and South America. Though they emphasized a standard Classical and Romantic repertory, they also performed works by such 20th-century composers as Béla Bartók and Benjamin Britten who wrote his third quartet expressly for them.