The Amadeus were the most successful and highly-regarded Quartet of the 20th century. Benefitting from the jet aeroplane and from the record industry’s ability to reach out to the world, they dominated chamber music-making for nearly 40 years.
But concert tours are only successful if reviews are ecstatic and audiences delighted. They both were. For nearly 40 years, the Quartet (who styled themselves ‘The Wolf-Gang’) roved the world, argued, celebrated, worked like no other group and changed not a single member: Norbert Brainin, Siegmund Nissel, Peter Schidlof and Martin Lovett had a recording career from 1951 to 1987, ending only with the death of Peter Schidlof in 1987. A replacement was never a discussion since the quartet had made a vow to each other that they would play string quartets with no other musician. This sad occasion marked the end of a quartet whose universal musicianship to this day transcends any changes in style that quartet playing might have undergone since.