Hagen Quartet & Kirill Gerstein, Piano
The Hagen Quartet sound like they’ve been playing together their whole lives — because they have. The otherworldly closeness of their sound, built on the collaboration of the three Hagen siblings with violinist Rainer Schmidt, led the Los Angeles Times to call them “the ideal string quartet.” Legends in Europe for three decades, the rarity of their visits to the United States makes this concert a true event. For this program, there are joined by pianist Kirill Gerstein, whose “blistering technique is matched only by his deeply soulful connection to standard repertoire” (Time Out New York).
The Hagens begin on their own, with Beethoven’s charming Second Quartet, which recalls the styles of Haydn and Mozart. They demonstrate their range by turning to Bartók’s Third Quartet, a one-movement bravura powerhouse that one critic fondly refers to as “fireside Bartók.” Gerstein joins them for the finale, the propulsive and engrossing Piano Quintet, which Brahms’ friend Hermann Levi called “beautiful beyond words.”
Beethoven: String Quartet in G Major, op. 18, no. 2
Bartók: String Quartet No. 3 in C Major
Brahms: Piano Quintet in F Minor, op. 34