Monday, November 03, 2014

Reviewing the Hagen Quartet

My review is up at SFCV.

Several friends of mine are very big on the Hagen; a couple have specifically praised Clemens Hagen, the cellist. I liked his playing, and that of violist Veronika Hagen and second violinist Rainer Schmidt, a great deal, but the quartet's overall interpretive profile is...or was on this occasion....not very interesting.

They don't seem to appear often in the US, and those past reviews that I could find are decidedly mixed, although, once again, Joshua Kosman tells you exactly what he thinks.
  • Joshua Kosman, CD review in the Chron
  • James Oestreich was impressed with their Beethoven in the Times
  • Tim Page wasn't thrilled, also in the Times ("..little sense of vortext" in a program that included K.387) 
There are more, older CD reviews at the Times.


Zwölftöner said...

This is usually my reaction when I hear them over here. "Undoubtedly the world's most famous string quartet" sounds like a case of Vienna Philharmonic-itis, oje.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Yes, there are certainly a few quartets that would dispute that bit of hyperbole!

Bill said...

I'm a major Hagen fan, but it's mostly based upon their Beethoven and Schubert recordings for DG. Their Mozart is fine, but a lot less distinctive. Their Schubert D887 is one of my favorite recordings of *anything*. I heard them live for the first time last year (mostly because they'd never played in Boston before) and was not disappointed.

BTW, I'd ignore any review of the Hagens written before about 1990. They replaced their second violinist around that time, and became a different (and much better) quartet.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Of the three reviews I linked to, only Page is before 1990, so...

I'll look for D887, thanks.