1920 to 1923 – A transition period
In October 1919, Samuel received a letter from a friend / colleague who had heard a report of a recent concert Samuel had given at Seven Oaks commending him on a performance …” how wonderfully improved and matured the playing was …in spite of the little time you have for real study now, what you will attain when you commence real hard practice …You must have been a great success .. and I am sure the applause you earned must have acted as a great stimulant .”
1920 to 1923 was a transition period for Samuel. He had been demobbed in May 1919 and was clearly earnest in restarting his career in music after having spent two years in the Army where duties must have reduced the amount he could practice his violin.
In 1920 he resumed his violin studies under Albert Sammons, and started playing professionally again. The May edition of Musical Times, in the ‘Music in the Provinces’ section noted Samuel playing a solo performance at a concert in Birmingham the previous March.
Samuel Kutcher and the The Philharmonic String Quartet
The Philharmonic String Quartet was formed in 1915 initially consisting of Arthur Beckwith (first violinist), Eugene Goossens (second violin), Raymond Jeremy (viola) and Cedric Sharpe (cellist). World War 1 interrupted their work as some of the members were eventually called up for service. In 1918 they reformed with Frederick Holding taking over from Goossens becoming the first violin in 1919 with Thomas Peatfield the new second violinist. (1)
The earliest record of Samuel’s membership with the Philharmonic String Quartet dates from February 1921. There were three concerts.
The first on February 2nd. The Quartet consisted of Frederick Holding (first violin), Samuel Kutcher (2nd violin), E. Tomlinson (viola) and Giovanni Barbirolli (‘Cello).
For the second concert on February 13th for the British Music Society the Quartet consisted of Frederick Holding, Samuel Kutcher, Raymond Jeremy and Cedric Sharpe.
The third concert that month was at Wigmore Hall, with the same formation as on the 13th, supporting singers Vivian Worth and Gerald Cooper. Clearly there was an error in the date .
On 24 February 1921, Gwendolen Mason joined the PSQ at the Hampstead Centre for the première of Bax’s Harp Quintet, dedicated to Raymond Jeremy.(1)
On March 1st The Philharmonic String Quartet played works by the Russian born American composer Boris Levenson, with the composer present playing the piano at the Aeolian Hall.
They played in a series of concerts dedicated to chamber music at the Battersea Town Hall, Lavender Hill.
May 1921 – Samuel´s solo career continues alongside his work with the Philharmonic String Quartet – Reviews of Concerts in London and Bournemouth.
“The Chelsea Pops”
The Chelsea Pops” a series of 10 Concerts at Chelsea Town Hall given by the Philharmonic String Quartet went from October of 1921 to April 1922. The aim of the series was to “popularize the Chamber Works of many of the leading Composers of the day”.
The Quartet placed an advert for the “ Chelsea Pops” in the first issue of the music magazine Fanfare, October 1st 1921
Reviews of the Chelsea Pops Concerts
It was at some point early in 1922 that Samuel moved from the Philharmonic String Quartet to forming his own ensemble.
At the same time besides solo work and small concert performances he appears to have played in a Quartet with Albert Sammons and Lionel Tertis which folded in February 1922 because the provinces could or would not pay the fees Sammons was asking for (see the letter below).
The letter possibly refers to the Chamber Music Players which was formed in 1921, and in 1922 consisted of Albert Sammons (violin) , Lionel Tertis ( viola), Felix Salmond (cellist) and William Murdoch (piano).
March 1922: Concert of the Epsom Literary Society – Samuel Kutcher solo performance.
May 1922 – Formation of the Kutcher String Quartet
There are contradictory accounts of when the Kutcher String Quartet was founded. The earliest material from Samuel’s papers that mentions the The Kutcher String Quartet are reviews in the Daily Telegraph of May 10th 1922,and May 11th of the Morning Post (see below) when they accompanied the singer Edith Bartlett in a concert at Wigmore Hall.
The Radio Times, 6th February 1925, put the start year as 1923, working in private for a year before making a public performance , a date similarly mentioned in Barbirolli’s biography. There are no record of them playing a public concerts in 1923.
December 1922 – Aeolian Orchestra Concert with Samuel Kutcher violinist.
Press Review – newspaper and date unknown – Concert Dec 1922
“ … The concert was made more pleasurable by the beautifully controlled singing of Miss Kathleen Destourel, and by the efficiency of two instrumentalists – Miss Edna Cooke, a pianist, and Mr. S Kutcher, a violinist. Both displayed gifts which await only the cultivating hand of experience for their complete fruition. ”
December 10th 1922 – South Place Ethical Society. A Cesar Frank Centenary Concert with the Kutcher String Quartet
March 21 st 1923 Goldsmith’s Hall Concert. Samuel Kutcher solo violinist.
March 29th – Samuel begins his career as the Leader of the (Robert Mayer) Children’s Orchestra