The Hollywood String Quartet (HSQ) was an American string quartet founded by violinist/conductor Felix Slatkin and his wife cellist Eleanor Aller. The Hollywood String Quartet is considered to be the first American-born and trained classical music chamber group to make an international impact, mainly through its landmark recordings. These recordings have long been regarded as among the most outstanding recorded performances of the string quartet repertoire.
The musicians of the Hollywood String Quartet were the leading players in the major movie studio orchestras producing the vibrant, lush film soundtracks during the “Golden Age of Hollywood.” In 1939, the same year as their marriage, Felix Slatkin and Eleanor Aller formed the HSQ.
In its original formation, Slatkin and Aller were joined by violist Paul Robyn and second violinist Joachim Chassman. However, the group disbanded soon thereafter when the three male members enlisted in WWII service. The HSQ resumed its activities in 1947, with Paul Shure replacing Chassman as second violinist. In 1955, Paul Robyn left the group and Alvin Dinkin assumed the viola chair.
In addition to their work in the Hollywood studio orchestras and recording classical repertoire, the HSQ members regularly performed as session musicians at the major record companies, including Capitol Records. At Capitol, they accompanied some of the leading pop performers of the era, most notably Frank Sinatra, for whom Felix Slatkin acted as concertmaster and occasional conductor on his now iconic Capitol recordings during the 1950s. Among these recordings was the 1956 Close to You, which featured the HSQ accompanying Sinatra in arrangements by Nelson Riddle.
The HSQ officially disbanded in 1961. Slatkin died two years later at the age of 47.
BEETHOVEN String Quartets Nos 12-16
BEETHOVEN Grosse Fugue
Recorded at Capitol Studios, Hollywood, 1957
Total duration: 3hr 15:43
SMETANA String Quartet No. 1 in E minor, T.116 "From my Life"
SCHUBERT String Quintet in C, D.956
DVORÁK String Quartet No. 12 in F, Op. 96, 'American'
Total duration: 2hr 15:41
Hollywood String Quartet
Paul Robyn, viola
Victor Aller, piano
Kurt Reher, cello