Chamber Music: Farewell to the Budapest

What is one Russian? An anarchist. Two Russians? A chess match. Three Russians? A Communist cell. Four Russians? The Budapest String Quartet.

For years, that was one of the music world's favorite jokes. Alas, no one will tell it any more: the Budapest String Quartet has apparently decided to call it a career. Its three oldest members—First Violinist Josef Roisman, 68, Violist Boris Kroyt, 71, and Cellist Mischa Schneider, 64—are in poor health. Although there has been no formal announcement, they have agreed not to perform in public any more. Mischa's brother Alexander,...

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