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Beethoven - String Quartets op. 18/3, 18/5 & 135 - Hagen Quartett (2013) {Myrios Classics MYR009}

Posted By: ruskaval
Beethoven - String Quartets op. 18/3, 18/5 & 135 - Hagen Quartett (2013) {Myrios Classics MYR009}

Beethoven - String Quartets op. 18/3, 18/5 & 135 - Hagen Quartett (2013) {Myrios Classics MYR009}
EAC rip (secure mode) | FLAC (tracks) +CUE+LOG -> 353 Mb | MP3 @320 -> 186 Mb
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© 2013 Myrios Classics | MYR009
Classical / Strings / Chamber Music

Following an extraordinary 30th anniversary season spent touring the complete Beethoven string quartets to musical centers around the world, including Tokyo, Paris, London, Vienna and Salzburg, the Hagen Quartet went directly from stage to studio to record three of their favorite Beethoven quartets. With the selection of op. 18/3, 18/5, and op. 135, the album ranges from the very first to the very last string quartet Beethoven wrote.
Taking a decidedly interventionist approach, the Hagen Quartet brings stupendous technique and 30 years of specialization in the Viennese classical tradition to bear on these familiar Beethoven quartets, effectively heightening the music’s character at every moment. Here are a few examples:

1) Despite its Allegro tempo indication, op. 18/3’s opening movement begins with slow music, so the Hagen plays it a little slowly, bringing out its thoughtful, introductory character, the better to create a contrast with the true Allegro that arrives 26 measures into the movement. By understanding Allegro to be a feeling, not a metronome marking, they enhance the music’s meaning.

2) In the second theme of the same movement, the Hagens highlight its syncopation by giving its important sforzandos a little extra nudge of placement in time.

3) Some quartets wouldn’t take the trio section of op. 18/5’s Minuet movement at a slower tempo than the minuet, because it’s not indicated in the score, but by doing so, the Hagen gives it a drunkenly swaying feel, using Beethoven’s misplaced-sounding accents to bring out the music’s latent character.

The Hagens are masters of precise articulation and quicksilver speed, but their sensitivity to the music also allows for tender feeling and simplicity of utterance. Their slow movement of op. 135 is a good example. By taking a tempo that gives the very slow main theme some forward motion—less drawn out than in the Brentano Quartet’s recent recording of the work (reviewed elsewhere)—the melody becomes songful enough that the structure of the variations that follow become easier to follow. Both groups create a rapt, contemplative feeling, but the Hagens’ has a more human dimension.

It sounds like the Hagens’ view of early Beethoven has absorbed the influence of period instrument performance, with a wide range of vibrato and non-vibrato sounds now part of their arsenal of colors. They remind me of certain technically dazzling solo performers who, by combining strong personal instincts, good taste, and openness to new approaches, bring extra vitality to their interpretations. I’m thinking of Cecilia Bartoli savoring the sound of the Italian language in a Rossini aria in a way that gives new musical meaning to the words, or Martha Argerich infusing an accompaniment figure in a Beethoven violin sonata with more rhythmic life than you knew it had.

Following a 20-year relationship with Deutsche Grammophon that resulted in 45 discs, with many of the Beethoven quartets among them, the Hagen Quartet is now heard on Myrios, who provide them here with warm, nicely detailed sound. Lovers of Beethoven’s experimental, multi-faceted op. 18 quartets—the outstanding achievements of his early period— and the mercurial joys of his last quartet, may find, as I do, that the Hagen Quartet’s Beethoven sets a new standard. Here’s hoping that they will record a new, complete Beethoven cycle for Myrios.
Beethoven - String Quartets op. 18/3, 18/5 & 135 - Hagen Quartett (2013) {Myrios Classics MYR009}


Musicians
Hagen Quartett

Lukas Hagen, violin 1
Rainer Schmidt, violin 2
Veronika Hagen, viola
Clemens Hagen, violoncello

Works on This Recording
1.
Quartet for Strings no 5 in A major, Op. 18 no 5 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble: Hagen String Quartet
Period: Classical
Written: 1798/1800
2.
Quartet for Strings no 3 in D major, Op. 18 no 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble: Hagen String Quartet
Written: 1798/1800
3.
Quartet for Strings no 16 in F major, Op. 135 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble: Hagen String Quartet
Written: 1826

Exact Audio Copy V1.0 beta 3 from 29. August 2011

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Beethoven / String Quartets op. 18-3, 18-5 & 135

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Beethoven - String Quartets op. 18/3, 18/5 & 135 - Hagen Quartett (2013) {Myrios Classics MYR009}

Beethoven - String Quartets op. 18/3, 18/5 & 135 - Hagen Quartett (2013) {Myrios Classics MYR009}



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