Difference between revisions of "Spencer Dyke String Quartet"

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The Quartet is covered here as it was the most prolific ensemble to record for the [[National Gramophonic Society]]. It also recorded for Vocalion.
 
The Quartet is covered here as it was the most prolific ensemble to record for the [[National Gramophonic Society]]. It also recorded for Vocalion.
  
For dates of creation and latest update, please see 'Page information' in left sidebar.
+
For dates of page creation and latest update, please see 'Page information' in left sidebar.
  
 
==History==
 
==History==

Revision as of 15:48, 21 January 2021

This page presents a brief account of the Spencer Dyke String Quartet, a British ensemble active during the first half of the twentieth century.

It is part of the site Classical 'Society' Records by Nick Morgan.

The Quartet is covered here as it was the most prolific ensemble to record for the National Gramophonic Society. It also recorded for Vocalion.

For dates of page creation and latest update, please see 'Page information' in left sidebar.

History

The Spencer Dyke String Quartet was formed by Edwin Spencer Dyke (1880-1946), its first and only leader, from the quartet of his teacher, Hans Wessely (1862-1926), although that group continued to perform in its original guise.[1] Spencer Dyke moved from violin II to leader, while Ernest Tomlinson (1877-1957)[2] remained as viola and Bertie Patterson Parker (1871-1930) as cello, positions they had occupied since 1904.[3] Only Edwin Quaife (1880-1940) was newly recruited, as violin II.

Although reportedly formed in 1918,[4] the Spencer Dyke Quartet gave its earliest documented public concert on 26 January 1920 at the Wigmore Hall in London, playing works by Elgar, Eugene Goossens [III], Ernest Tomlinson (its viola player), Frank Bridge and Haydn.[5] The group enjoyed immediate success, perhaps partly capitalizing on the esteem which Wessely's formation had enjoyed, and played throughout Britain (unlike the Wessely Quartet, it does not seem to have performed abroad). The Quartet collaborated in concert and on disc with well-known soloists, and showed a notable commitment to modern music and to British composers.

Spencer Dyke had recorded violin 'solos' (i.e. duos with piano) for the British branch of Odeon before World War I;[6] in a 1928 interview, he described the 'nervy business' of making early ensemble records,[7] though these cannot be identified. From 1924, the Spencer Dyke Quartet recorded extensively, initially for Vocalion and then, until 1927, for the National Gramophonic Society (see below). It also broadcast for the B.B.C., from early 1924.[8]

In 1927, two founding members left. Quaife resigned through pressure of work, and was replaced by Spencer Dyke's pupil Harold Tate Gilder (1899-1963); Tomlinson resigned through ill health, and was replaced by Bernard Shore (1896-1985).[9] The new members took part in the Quartet's last recordings, made for the NGS in 1927 and 1928. In 1930, Patterson Parker, the founding cellist, died.[10] He was replaced by Cedric Sharpe (1891-1978), who remained in the Quartet until it was disbanded.[11]

It is not certain when or why the Spencer Dyke Quartet stopped performing in public; no concerts are currently documented after 1936.[12] Shore was last billed as viola player in July 1939,[13] and was replaced by Winifred Copperwheat (1905-1976).[14] Substituted once in 1938 by Pierre Tas (1902-1971),[15] Tate Gilder also departed in 1939, to be replaced first by Edwin Virgo (c.1880-1949)[16] and then by James Cooper (dates unknown).[17]

In 1940, the Musical Times reported that the Quartet had used a set of instruments made by Alfred Dixon of Folkestone;[18] it is not known how often this happened or in which circumstances.

The Spencer Dyke Quartet continued to broadcast until January 1944.[19] It appears to have performed again after the War, perhaps at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where Spencer Dyke had been a professor for decades. It did not survive his death in December 1946.[20]

Discography

The Spencer Dyke String Quartet left a substantial recorded legacy of 130 '78 rpm' sides. Of these, 16 were recorded for the Vocalion label.[21]

Vocalion

Vocalion had been at the forefront of classical record production in Britain for some years. In 1919 it had lured the violinist Albert Sammons (1886-1957) away from rival Columbia, followed in 1920 by the London String Quartet, which Sammons had led before going solo. Alongside the viola player Lionel Tertis (1876-1975), these artists recorded a considerable amount of chamber music for Vocalion, admittedly often abridged or, as in several of Tertis' recordings, slightly rescored. But by mid-1924 the London String Quartet had moved on again,[22] and it is probably no coincidence that Vocalion engaged the Spencer Dyke Quartet around this time. For reasons explained below, the association was short-lived, and today the Quartet's Vocalion discs are uncommon and all but unknown. The series opened with two single discs of excerpts drawn from the Quartet's contemporary repertoire, both gramophone premieres and possibly an attempt to test buyers' interest in such music. If so, sales must have been disappointing, as the next two productions presented two of the most popular quartets, recorded complete and uncut. Again, both were effectively gramophone premieres; one had previously been issued complete only in an experimental long-play format, doomed to failure,[23] and the other had been recorded abridged.[24]

Composer Selection(s) Matrix Rec. date Sys. Location Cat. ID Diam. Issue date Note(s) Source(s)
Bridge, Frank Noveletten
(i) Andante moderato
03485
early 1924(?)
ac
Vocalion studio,
Duncan Avenue, London
D 02155
12" / 30 cm
June 1924
First recording of this item
First issued recording by Spencer Dyke String Quartet
Vocalion Records Bulletin No.35 June 1924; Andrews, Frank et al. Vocalion Records, CLPGS Reference Series No.42, 2017
(iii) Allegro vivo
03486
early 1924(?)
ac
Vocalion studio,
Duncan Avenue, London
D 02155
12" / 30 cm
June 1924
First recording of this item Vocalion Records Bulletin No.35 June 1924; Andrews, Frank et al. Vocalion Records, CLPGS Reference Series No.42, 2017
McEwen Suite of Old National Dances (String Quartet No.12) -
Group III. Two Japanese Dances
(a) The Harvest of the Sea Salt, Japanese Vocal Dance. Adagio
(b) Butterfly Dance. Molto vivace
03487
early 1924(?)
ac
Vocalion studio,
Duncan Avenue, London
R 6140
10" / 25 cm
April 1924
First recording of this item
First known recording by Spencer Dyke String Quartet
Private collection; Andrews, Frank et al. Vocalion Records, CLPGS Reference Series No.42, 2017
Group II. Three Old French Melodies
(c) Danse Basse [sic] "Jouissance vous donnerai"
Group I. (b) Two Scottish Dances (Strathspey "Tullochgorum", Reel "Johnny Lad")
03488
early 1924(?)
ac
Vocalion studio,
Duncan Avenue, London
R 6140
10" / 25 cm
April 1924
First recording of this item Private collection; Andrews, Frank et al. Vocalion Records, CLPGS Reference Series No.42, 2017
Dvořák String Quartet in F major Op.96
(i) Allegro ma non troppo [part 1]
03695
late 1924(?)
ac
Vocalion studio,
Duncan Avenue, London
K 05132
12" / 30 cm
March 1925
Private collection; Andrews, Frank et al. Vocalion Records, CLPGS Reference Series No.42, 2017
(i) Allegro ma non troppo [part 2]
03696
late 1924(?)
ac
Vocalion studio,
Duncan Avenue, London
K 05132
12" / 30 cm
March 1925
Private collection; Andrews, Frank et al. Vocalion Records, CLPGS Reference Series No.42, 2017
(ii) Lento [part 1]
03697
late 1924(?)
ac
Vocalion studio,
Duncan Avenue, London
K 05133
12" / 30 cm
March 1925
Private collection; Andrews, Frank et al. Vocalion Records, CLPGS Reference Series No.42, 2017
(ii) Lento [part 2]
03698
late 1924(?)
ac
Vocalion studio,
Duncan Avenue, London
K 05133
12" / 30 cm
March 1925
Private collection; Andrews, Frank et al. Vocalion Records, CLPGS Reference Series No.42, 2017
(iii) Molto vivace
03626X
late 1924(?)
ac
Vocalion studio,
Duncan Avenue, London
K 05134
12" / 30 cm
March 1925
Andrews, Frank et al. Vocalion Records, CLPGS Reference Series No.42, 2017, omits take suffix Private collection
(iv) Finale. Vivace ma non troppo
03700
late 1924(?)
ac
Vocalion studio,
Duncan Avenue, London
K 05134
12" / 30 cm
March 1925
Division of movements on this disc unclear Private collection; Andrews, Frank et al. Vocalion Records, CLPGS Reference Series No.42, 2017
Haydn String Quartet in D major Op.64 No.5
(i) Allegro moderato [part 1]
03804
early 1925(?)
ac
Vocalion studio,
Duncan Avenue, London
X 9554
10" / 25 cm
April 1925
First complete, uncut recording of this work Vocalion Records Bulletin No.45 April, 1925; auction listings
(i) Allegro moderato [part 2]
03805
early 1925(?)
ac
Vocalion studio,
Duncan Avenue, London
X 9554
10" / 25 cm
April 1925
Vocalion Records Bulletin No.45 April, 1925; auction listings
(ii) Adagio cantabile [part 1]
03806
early 1925(?)
ac
Vocalion studio,
Duncan Avenue, London
X 9555
10" / 25 cm
April 1925
Vocalion Records Bulletin No.45 April, 1925; auction listings
(ii) Adagio cantabile [part 2]
03807
early 1925(?)
ac
Vocalion studio,
Duncan Avenue, London
X 9555
10" / 25 cm
April 1925
Vocalion Records Bulletin No.45 April, 1925; auction listings
(iii) Menuetto. Allegretto
03808
early 1925(?)
ac
Vocalion studio,
Duncan Avenue, London
X 9556
10" / 25 cm
April 1925
Vocalion Records Bulletin No.45 April, 1925; auction listings
Finale. Vivace
03809
early 1925(?)
ac
Vocalion studio,
Duncan Avenue, London
X 9556
10" / 25 cm
April 1925
Vocalion Records Bulletin No.45 April, 1925; auction listings

National Gramophonic Society

See National Gramophonic Society Discography

References

As well as references cited here, this page draws on:

  • concert and broadcast listings, previews and reviews in The Gramophone, The Manchester Guardian, Musical Opinion and Music Trade Review, The Musical Times, The Observer and The Strad
  • advertisements, notices and record reviews in The Gramophone and The Musical Times
  • Genealogical sources consulted via ancestry.co.uk

There is an unrelated Wikipedia entry about the Spencer Dyke Quartet. It is not complete or entirely accurate.

  1. See e.g. 'Wesleyan Jubilee Celebration', Kent and Sussex Courier, Friday 27 October 1922, p.7
  2. Tomlinson, well-known teacher and viola player in several distinguished quartets including the Spencer Dyke String Quartet, is not to be confused with the composer and conductor Ernest Tomlinson (1924-2015)
  3. 'Miscellaneous', The Musical Times, Vol.45 No.732, February 1904, p.123
  4. e.g. Meadmore, W.S. 'British Performing Organizations', '(2) Present-Day Organizations', in Cobbett, Walter Willson Cobbett's Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music, London: Oxford University Press / Humphrey Milford, 1929, pp.203-12; 'Mozart' (billing for BBC National Programme broadcast, Thursday 13 July 1939), Radio Times, Vol.64 No.823, 7 July 1939, p.52
  5. 'Spencer Dyke String Quartet', in 'Music', The Times, issue 42318, Tuesday 27 January 1920, p.10; 'Spencer Dyke Quartet', Pall Mall Gazette, Tuesday 27 January 1920, p.8
  6. Odeon Records Orange Label Catalogue (...) No.26, n.d. [1912?], p.16, lists six 12" / 30 cm double-sided discs of salon music performed by 'Mr. Spencer Dyke of Queen's Hall [Orchestra]. (With piano accompaniment)'
  7. Meadmore, W.S. 'More Gramophone Personalities', The Gramophone, Vol.VI No.67, December 1928, pp.336-40 (on p.340)
  8. Earliest broadcast identified: 'Hours with Living British Composers John H. McEwen', 2LO London, Thursday 28 February 1924
  9. Meadmore, W.S. 'More Gramophone Personalities', The Gramophone, Vol. VI No. 67, December 1928, pp.336-40
  10. 'Obituary', The Musical Times, Vol.71 No.1053, November 1930,, p.1039; 'In Memoriam B. Patterson Parker, F.R.A.M. 1871-1930', The R.A.M. Club Magazine, No.88, November 1930, p.24
  11. Shore, Bernard 'Cedric Sharpe', in 'Obituary', Royal College of Music Magazine, Vol.74 No.3, October 1978, pp.113-21 (on pp.114-16)
  12. Latest concerts identified:
    • Concert, programme unknown, 6 November 1935, Blackpool Music Society, Metropole Hotel, Blackpool; 'Music, Drama, and Films', The Manchester Guardian, 27 October 1934, p.15
    • Concert, programme including Bax String Quartet [No.1] in G, date and location unknown; [Title unknown] Portsmouth Evening News, Tuesday 23 June 1936, p.3
  13. 'Mozart', BBC National Programme, Thursday 13 July 1939; on that occasion, as on others, Shore did not play but was substituted by Frederick Riddle (1912-1995)
  14. 'Haydn', BBC Home Service, Tuesday 9 July 1940
  15. 'Chamber Music', BBC London Regional, Saturday 23 April 1938
  16. e.g. 'Haydn', BBC Home Service, Tuesday 9 July 1940
  17. e.g. 'Modern English Chamber Music', BBC Home Service, Monday 24 March 1941
  18. 'Notes & News', The Musical Times, Vol.81 No.1163, January 1940, pp.34-35
  19. Latest broadcast identified: 'Frank Bridge', BBC Home Service, Monday 17 January 1944
  20. 'Obituary', The Musical Times, Vol.88 No.1247, January 1947, pp.35-36
  21. On the history of the Vocalion marque, see Andrews, Frank, Harrison, Keith, Wood-Woolley, Tim Vocalion Records [Reference Series RS42], CLPGS, 2017, pp.3-20
  22. Potter, Tully 'The life (and strange afterlife) of the London String Quartet', booklet essay for Music & Arts Programs CD-1253(8), 2011
  23. Dvořák String Quartet in F major Op.96:
    • Leo Abkov String Quartet, recorded c.1922, issued on World Record 415, 416 (2 12" / 30 cm sides, constant linear speed, duration c.33 min.), see Andrews, Frank, Badrock, Arthur & Walker, Edward S. World Records Vocalion "W" Fetherflex and Penny Phono Recordings A Listing, Spalding, Lincs.: the authors, 1992
  24. Haydn String Quartet in D major Op.64 No.5:
    • London String Quartet, recorded c.1919, issued on Columbia D 1443, D 1444 (2 10" / 25 cm discs, 4 sides)
    • Flonzaley Quartet, recorded 25 & 26 November and 23 December 1921, issued on Victor 74726, 74746, 74825 (3 12" / 30 cm single sides) and on HMV