The Hagen Quartet with Haydn, Webern and Schumann
Lukas Hagen Violin
Rainer Schmidt Violin
Veronika Hagen Viola
Clemens Hagen Cello
String Quartet in C major Hob. III:57
Five Movements for string quartet
String Quartet No. 1 in A minor
Mon, 01 Feb 2016 8 p.m.
Chamber Music Hall | Introduction: 7:00 pm
The Hagen Quartet has been playing at the highest level of string quartets for more than 30 years. Exploring Joseph Haydn’s music has repeatedly engaged the ensemble deeply over the decades. The start of this Hagen Quartet concert is one of Haydn’s most interesting contributions to the genre: the second of the three string quartets op. 54, composed in 1788, commissioned by a Viennese businessman and former violinist in Lord Esterházy’s court orchestra which, in his day, Haydn had conducted. Both harmonically and formally, this work ventures into a surprisingly new direction.
By studying Haydn’s string quartets, Robert Schumann found his way in 1842 to the supreme discipline of chamber music. When working on the trinity of string quartets op. 41, which the composer tackled in the same year and which remained his only creative engagement with the genre, Schumann was guided by Haydn’s standards (“purity of setting”, “artificial interweaving” and “original character of the melodic lines”), but was nonetheless able to express himself in his very own musical language.
The heart of the programme is Anton Webern’s highly expressive Opus 5 from 1909, consciously not designated a “string quartet” by the composer. Ultimately, for Webern this piece was about nothing less than winning new expressive values by breaking with all formal as well as compositional and playing conventions.