Chamber Music

The Hagen Quartet with Haydn, Webern and Schumann

The Hagen Quartet has been playing at the highest level of string quartets for more than 30 years. Across the decades, Joseph Haydn’s music has been a focus of the ensemble’s work. This evening, for instance, starts with one of the composer’s most interesting contributions to the genre: the second of the three string quartets op. 54, fascinating due to its unconventional form. The programme also includes Robert Schumann’s First String Quartet op. 41 and Anton Webern’s highly expressive Opus 5.

Hagen Quartett:

Lukas Hagen Violin

Rainer Schmidt Violin

Veronika Hagen Viola

Clemens Hagen Cello

Joseph Haydn

String Quartet in C major Hob. III:57

Anton Webern

Five Movements for string quartet

Robert Schumann

String Quartet No. 1 in A minor

Dates and Tickets

Programme

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.