Around 1916, Guillaume Dupuis (1887-1954), a choir master and singing teacher in several Montréal institutions, created the Quatuor Octave-Pelletier, a quartet named in honour of his former teacher, Romain-Octave Pelletier (1843-1927).
The Quatuor Octave-Pelletier brought together tenors Arthur Lapierre and Joseph-Henri Thibodeau, baritone Rodrigue Gauthier and bass Jean-Marie Magnan. Each member of the group continued his solo career and also sang with other groups.
The ensemble became known through concert performances before being offered, in May 1918, a recording session at Columbia studios in New York. The quartet recorded folk songs, patriotic songs and religious songs. Between August 1918 and January 1920, the ensemble produced ten records. On the first two (Columbia E3979 and E3980), the quartet was called the "Canadian Columbia Quartet".
On October 19, 1918, Rodrigue Gauthier died in the serious Spanish influenza epidemic that claimed so many victims in Canada. Guillaume Dupuis took his place and bass Armand Gauthier filled the place left by Jean-Marie Magnan, but the group folded shortly thereafter.
Selected recordings available
To find more recordings, go to Search Virtual Gramophone. Enter in All fields quatuor octave AND under "Show advanced search options" select Digital content MP3.
Source: Unpublished research notes by Robert Thérien, music researcher, Montréal