Amar Quartet – Founding
During the preparations for the first «Donaueschingen Chamber Music Performances for the Promotion of Contemporary Music» in August 1921, there arose unexpected problems. The Havemann Quartet, assigned with the premiere of Hindemith's Third String Quartet, Op. 16, felt unable to learn the work due to its high degree of difficulty.
The violinist Licco Amar remembered: «Shortly before the holidays I [...] received a telegram from Donaueschingen from Heinrich Burkard, a music director completely unknown to me. He proposed that I participate at the upcoming music festival in Donaueschingen, the first of its kind, with another violinist [Walter Caspar] and perform the quartet of a composer utterly unknown to me named Paul Hindemith. I of course accepted with pleasure. Without knowing any further details, I went to the Black Forest during the holidays and received the score and parts of the [...] String Quartet, Op. 16. I would not claim that I understood this new kind of music from an initial reading of the score, but I remember very well that something special grabbed me from these notes: an energy and vitality that I grasped more instinctively than consciously.
I was most astonished when I came to Donaueschingen as agreed and was received by two slight young people, who in fact looked like children, at the railway station. One was Paul Hindemith and the other was his brother Rudolf, who took on the cello part in this quartet. These two, who looked so slender, took possession of my baggage – I can still see this before me – and carried it away. [...] In eight days we had rehearsed this quartet very well, whereby both Hindemith brothers proved themselves outstanding quartet partners. The performance was – to put it briefly – a thunderous success.»
The ensemble that had come together spontaneously in 1921 was officially founded at the Donaueschingen Music Festival the next year. It was named after its first violinist, Licco Amar, not after its doubtless most prominent member Paul Hindemith. The personnel of the Quartet with Amar and Caspar as violinists and Hindemith as violist remained unchanged until Hindemith's departure in April 1929. Rudolf Hindemith and Maurits Frank were the cellists. Erich Kraack became Hindemith's successor in 1929. The Quartet disbanded in 1933.