Amazing Hagen!

The astounding Hagen Quartet!
The Hagen Quartet is made up of three members of a Salzburg family : Lukas, Veronika and Clemens Hagen – and the German violinist Rainer Schmidt, who joined the quartet in autumn 1987, replacing Annette Bik.

The three Hagen’s studied at the Salzburg Mozarteum: Veronika and Lukas were students of Helmut Zehetmair; Clemens’ teacher was Wilfried Tachezi. Rainer Schmidt studied in Germany, Canada and the USA, where he attended the Cincinnati Conservatory under the tutelage of Walter Levin and Dorothy DeLay. Hatto Beyerle, Heinrich Schiff and Oleg Maisenberg also played important roles in the artistic development of the musicians.

The performers on this CD are:

• Lukas Hagen, 1st violin
• Rainer Schmidt, 2nd violin
• Veronika Hagen, viola
• Clemens Hagen, cello

In my view, this group of performers represents the finest set of quartet players in the entire world. There are many other excellent performers. This group, however, is the very best.

I am listening every single day for the past week to the Hagen DVD of the Beethoven Quartet number 16, Op. 135. This is the last composition Beethoven ever wrote. And its makeup is truly revolutionary as far as musical ideas are concerned. And the Hagen Quartet presents it to us in a singularly exemplary manner! Beethoven’s music in this case paves the way for quartet music that followed for the next 100 years. In fact, once you listen to this music very carefully, you will be amazed that these sound combinations came from a composer writing this music in 1826!

Here is the Hagen Quartet in Maurice Ravel’s String Quartet in F – Allegro moderato:

And here the Hagen Quartet plays very short extracts from Beethoven’s String Quartet op. 135, and Mozart Clarinet Quintet:

Hagen Quartet, Beethoven Op. 135, Mozart Clarinet Quintet

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