Ernest Gold – String Quartet – unidentified String Quartet – Unidentified live performance – Presumed Premier 1948 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
This one is going to require some sleuthing I’m afraid. Every so often, a pile of transcription discs turn up in my archive with no labels and no other identification other than a few hastily scribbled words – it’s my job to track down the who, what, when, where and why of these recordings. Sometimes it’s easy – the announcements are on the discs themselves and they are instantly identified. Others, like this one, only have the words Ernest Gold String Quartet on the 78 rpm labels, cut at a recording studio from what is definitely a live performance, but which is cut off at the end just as the applause gets started.
Frustrating. But I think it’s safe to say it’s from a concert performance somewhere in Southern California because the discs come from a small studio in Pasadena. Not much to go on, but enough to offer this performance in the hopes one of you readers may have access to other archival sources I currently don’t have.
I do know the Ernest Gold Archive is located at Brigham Young University in Utah and the contents reveal notes and correspondence regarding the String Quartet. However, the information isn’t available online and the University is shut down owing to COVID-19. Extra added frustration.
A little information on who we’re talking about here, just as a frame of reference:
Ernst Sigmund Goldner (July 13, 1921 – March 17, 1999), known professionally as Ernest Gold, was an Austrian-born American composer. He is most noted for his work on the film Exodus produced in 1960. Gold was born in 1921 in Vienna, the son of Elisabeth (Stransky) and Gustav Goldner. Gold came from a musical family. His father played the violin, and his mother sang. His father also studied under Richard Heuberger.Gold said that he learned to read music before he had learned to read words. He studied the violin and the piano when he was only 6 years old and began composing music at 8. By age 13, he had written an entire opera. As a child, he said he wanted to go to Hollywood and be a composer. 24 Gold would go to movie theaters as a teenager not only to watch the films but also to listen to the musical score. Among prominent film composers of the time he admired Max Steiner. In 1938, Gold attended the Viennese Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst, but he moved to the U.S. after the Anschluss of Austria, because of the family’s Jewish heritage. In the United States, Gold earned money by working as an accompanist and writing popular songs in New York City. He also studied with Otto Cesana and Leon Barzin at the National Orchestra Association. The NBC Orchestra performed Gold’s first symphony in 1939, only a year after he moved to the United States. In 1941, he composed a symphony that was later played at Carnegie Hall in 1945. Gold moved to Hollywood in the same year to work with Columbia Pictures, his first significant role being the score for the melodrama Girl of the Limberlost (1945). After this opportunity, Gold wrote scores for other minor films. For the next ten years, he continued to work on B movies, mainly orchestrating and arranging music for western movies and melodramas.
So that’s a little about Ernest Gold to give you some idea of what you’re about to hear. The String Quartet itself certainly exemplifies Gold’s roots in the Viennese Music Academy and the players of the quartet are no weekend amateurs.
So hit the play button and see what you think – any information or even hunches would be appreciated. I’m all for solving the mystery as I am sure you would too.
Enjoy the mystery.