'One of the finest quartets of our time' (Washington Post).
Beethoven's late string quartets comprise his final major completed works and were dismissed by audiences in his day.
Arguably they are now considered to be among the most important musical compositions of all time.
The Hagen Quartet's all-Beethoven programme includes No.15 in A minor, op. 132 and No.14 in C-sharp minor, op. 131, composed in the final two years of Beethoven's life.
String Quartet No.15 in A minor, nicknamed the Heiliger Dankgesang, was commissioned by and dedicated to Count Nikolai Golitzin and is characterised by a heroic first theme and a meditative third movement.
The last movement is based on a theme that had originally been intended for Beethoven's renowned Symphony No.9, but here becomes the subject for a sonata-rondo that reaches a victorious A major in its closing bars.
Quartet No. 14 was actually Beethoven's final composition and he remarked that it was his favourite of the late quartets.
It is said that upon listening to a performance, Schubert commented, 'After this, what is left for us to write?'.
He spoke of the quartet as having a 'grandeur [...] which no words can express. [It stands] on the extreme boundary of all that has hitherto been attained by human art and imagination.'
Dedicated to Baron Joseph von Stutterheim, the quartet served as Beethoven's gesture of gratitude for appointing his nephew Karl into the army after a suicide attempt.
The Hagen Quartet was founded in 1981 by four siblings - Lukas, Angelika, Veronika and Clemens - in Salzburg, Austria.
Rainer Schmidt joined the group in 1987 as second violinist and the Quartet has become one of the leading string quartets in the world.
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Date: 11 Feb Time: 19:30