1924 Kutcher String Quartet goes public

The first notices that appear about the Kutcher String Quartet in March  follow a Concert given for the South London Philharmonic Society. The members of the Quartet were Messrs. Samuel Kutcher, Leonard Rubinstein, George Whitaker and John Barbirolli.”

Reviews of the  Concert

Sydenham Gazette March 17th

“ … the fact that Madame Lily Henkel will play in the Schumann and Dvorak Quintet with the famous Kutcher Quartet is sufficient guarantee to music-lovers that the programme will be of unusual interest”

Daily Telegraph March 17th

“.. The Kutcher Quartet proved itself an admirable combination of players who use intelligence as well as sensitivity …… the Quartet knows how to present a united front, which is a secret hard to discover.”

Morning Post March 17th

“Musicians of the Guild of Singers and Players brought art of the highest quality to the doors of South London music-lovers…… The public response, though moderate in point of numbers, was sincerely enthusiastic in it’s welcome to the Kutcher’s String Quartet, who gave an admirably clear and delicately modelled reading of the Mozart work for their combination in C No. 17 ….”

The AEolian Hall Concert 1924

AEolian Hall Concert June 1924

June 26, Daily Express

“Whether the Kutcher String Quartet is a new institution or not, I do not know; it is certainly a good one. These admirable musicians played the Cesar  Franck quartet to perfection, always in the middle of the note, and with a balance of tone and delicacy of feeling that were alike delightful. Franck’s quartet is somewhat monotonous in colour, and thus provides a searching test of the musicianship of its interpreters. The Kutcher Quartet never failed to make all the points in just the right way.”

July 2, Era

“The Kutcher String Quartet … are a newer combination than their playing …would lead one to suspect. Evidently their public appearances have been prepared with exacting training, though not necessarily by a long association; for each player is not only a capable executant, but a musician. They showed their capacity to grasp the Delius Quartet as a whole as well as by their appreciation of the many beauties in which the work abounds.”

July 5, Musical News and Herald London Music

“ Monday of last week was a remarkable day in the concert world, for of four concerts three presented features that were of an entirely new interest. The most striking event was the first appearance of the Kutcher String Quartet…. Not for a long time have I heard four young players who have played together with such a feeling for beauty of tone and for the character of the music they played. Their ideas are still a bit elementary, but where they are not led by the music to give an independant and original conception, they follow the best traditions  and not merely the popular ones…. As might be expected from young and eager players, they played the modern work with fullest sympathy and the richest degree of personal feeling.”

Extract from the “Biography of  John Barbirolli” by Charles Reid

“Until the end of 1923 or thereabouts his (Samuel’s) career as a violinist roughly ran parallel with Barbirolli’s as a ‘cellist. Both played in orchestras and were highly considered as soloists. And both felt beckoned as musicians to matters of higher moment and authority. The Barbirollis now had a flat in Marchmont Street, Bloomsbury, over a chemist’s shop. Kutcher was a frequent caller. They talked avidly about their newest enthusiasms and ambitions. During one of their talks they hummed and thumped favourite themes and rhythms at each other. Barbirolli suddenly broke off and said: ‘Why don’t we start a string quartet?’ Within a week or two a quartet had been provisionally formed with Kutcher as its leader. Rehearsals began around a standard lamp in the Barbirollis’ music-room.

At its debut and throughout Barbirolli’s connection with it, the K.Q. had George Whitaker as second violin and Leonard Rubinstein as viola. Whitaker not only played in chamber music; he composed it as well. His Theme and Variations in E were in the Kutcher repertory. The quartet gave pilot concerts as early as March 1924.

For the South London Philharmonic Society at Goldsmiths’ College, New Cross, for example, they played Mozart’s No. 17 in C and, with Lily Henkel as pianist, Schumann’s E flat and Dvorak’s A major (Op. 81) quintets before a smallish audience who had booked ahead at 4s. 9d. each or paid Is. 7d. at the  doors.  A writer in the Daily Telegraph felt that Barbirolli’s bass line was perhaps too restrained. However, the quartet  presented a united front-‘a hard secret to discover’.”


June 1924 – Samuel started to use “The General Press Cutting Association Ltd ” to collect notices of his performances.

Press Cuttings 1924 from The General Press Cutting Association Ltd

Press Cuttings 1924 from The General Press Cutting Association Ltd

York Hotel, Berners Street  - Kutcher Quartet -  Series of 7  Chamber music concerts.

York Hotel, Berners Street Series of 7 Chamber music concerts.

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