Video: The Galimir Quartet and musical life in Vienna

This is a fascinating youtube mini-documentary about the Galimir Quartet. A lengthier, fascinating documentary in French was put together by George Zeisel of ProQuartet, a French organisation that promotes chamber music (sadly not available on Youtube). In Zeisel’s film, he focuses on the work of Felix Galimir in America, but this Youtube clip, (lasting 35 minutes) is equally fascinating, though there are few minor irritations such as referring to Adolf Loos as Alfred or unintentionally implying that Korngold was part of the Second Viennese School – a view that would have quite a number of his contemporaries revolving in their graves. But in spite of these blips, it’s a fascinating view of musical life in Vienna up until 1936, when the quartet had the conscious or subconscious prescience to leave. It’s interesting to see passive indications of what else was going on: a featured press review by Erwin Stein starts with a mention of Hans Gál’s Madrigal Ensemble, a group he founded in Vienna upon being thrown out of his position as Director of the Mainz Music Academy in 1933. And there is a post-card from Darius Milhaud expressing admiration of the Galimirs which is addressed to Egon Wellesz. Their championing of Berg’s ‘Lyric Suite’ brought them into contact with Louis Krasner who commissioned Berg’s violin concerto. He also met Adrienne Galimir whom he married, breaking up the quartet, but eventually providing the necessary contacts to save the rest of the family.