David Royko Psy.D

david@davidroyko.com

Discovering the Griller String Quartet

August 12, 2004

Considering how rare Griller Quartet reissues are, it is a pleasant coincidence that Tuesday saw the release of two Griller titles, the Bloch quartets 1-4 on Decca (2 CDs, Tower had them for 11.99 yesterday) and the Haydn 7 Last Words on Dutton (7.99 at Tower). These join the other 5 CDs of currently-available Griller recordings (the three others on Dutton, and the 2-disc set of Mozart quintets w/Primrose on Vanguard). The Bloch 2nd quartet that Dutton issued is the earlier, 1940s recording that the Grillers made, while the new issue on Decca is the later version from 1954.

Based on one listening, these are stunning recordings. The Dutton remastering of the Haydn is terrific, and the performance goes to the top of my list of favorites of the quartet version of the work. The Bloch set also sounds wonderful, though this is the first time I've heard 1 and 4, and the only other recording I have of 3 is the New World's on Vox, and this performance outclasses that one in every way (the playing, the conception, and the sound, even though the Grillers are mono).

I have to admit that I'd never paid any attention the Grillers until I happened to hear one of the Dutton reissues a few years ago, and it knocked me flat. I've been keeping an eye out for more, but they don't turn up much. Does a discography, or even just a list, of recordings by the Grillers exist?

Dave Royko