The Hungarian String Quartet was a musical ensemble of world renown, particularly famous for its performances of quartets by Beethoven and Bartók. The quartet was founded in Budapest in 1935 (as the New Hungarian Quartet) and was disbanded in 1972.
The Quartet was originally brought together with Sándor Végh (a pupil of Jenő Hubay and Zoltán Kodály at Budapest Academy) as the first violin, but was set onto a balanced footing when the virtuoso violinist Zoltán Székely (graduate of the same Academy, as was Denes Koromzay (1913–2001)) was recruited in 1937. At that point Sándor Végh moved to the second violin desk, and in 1940 he left to found the Végh Quartet. He was then replaced by the Russian Alexandre Moszkowsky. The Quartet had made its debut in 1935, and met with swift success. Szekely was a friend of Béla Bartók's, and the group became rapidly known by giving the Hungarian première performance of the Bartok 5th Quartet, which it studied with the composer. By 1938, the group had been heard in every major city of Western Europe.
During the war they were trapped in the Netherlands, and devoted the period to the intensive study of the Beethoven quartets, which were subsequently launched upon the world in the brilliant career which the group achieved after 1945. In 1950 they settled in the USA. In around 1956 the cello, and around 1960 the second violin desk, was reassigned, and in this new form the Quartet continued to maintain its busy programme of performance until 1972, while also undertaking teaching positions and the coaching of younger instrumentalists. In 1957, the newly configured Quartet performed in Boston for the Peabody Mason Concert series.
BARTÓK String Quintet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 18
Recorded on 15 May, 1946
The Hungarian Quartet