- The String Quartets
When you thoroughly admire and enjoy the playing of a group of performers, there’s no better gift than finally experiencing them in a live concert setting. That was the case when I attended a concert by the Hagen String Quartet in Carmel-by-the-Sea several months ago. At that concert they performed three quartets by Mozart.
On this CD, we get to listen to the music of Beethoven. In fact we get to experience how Beethoven’s compositional style changed over the time period of his composing these works. Three quartets are presented, and they are:
- 1. String Quartet No. 3 in D major, Op. 18/3
- 2. String Quartet No. 5 in A major, Op. 18/5
- 3. String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135
The Opus 18 quartets belong to the so-called early period. More quartets emerged during the “Middle Period” which produced Beethoven’s “Harp Quartet”, and the “Serioso Quartet”.
On this CD, the Hagen Quartet ends with the very last quartet that Beethoven ever composed, the Opus 135.
The Op. 135 was composed nearly three decades after his first quartet. There is quite a difference in style, with the No. 16 being far more inventive, unusual, and mature than his previous quartets. The slow movement was given the title “Cantante e tranquillo”.
And Beethoven died shortly thereafter, making it, in fact, his final tranquil song.
Here are the members of the Hagen String quartet, performing the Beethoven String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135, third movement: Lento assai, cantante e tranquillo:
Yes, it is sad; but still totally heavenly music.