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Beethoven: String Quartet No 16; Mozart: Clarinet Quintet / Meyer, Hagen

Beethoven / Mozart / Weber / Meyer / Hagen Quartet
Release Date: 04/28/2009 
Label:  Euroarts   Catalog #: 2072318  
Composer:  Ludwig van BeethovenWolfgang Amadeus MozartCarl Maria von Weber
Performer:  Sabine Meyer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hagen String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Recorded live at the Grosser Saal, Mozarteum, Salzburg, 26 January 2000

Picture format: NTSC 16:9
Sound format: PCM Stereo / Digital Dolby 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Booklet notes: English, German, French
Running time: 72 mins
No. of DVDs: 1 (DVD 9)

R E V I E W:


BEETHOVEN String Quartet No. 16. MOZART Clarinet Quintet & Read more class="BULLET12b">• Hagen Qrt; Sabine Meyer (cl) MEDICI ARTS 2072318 (DVD: 72:00) Live: Salzburg 1/26/2000

& weber Clarinet Quintet: Capriccio presto

Writing in 29:4 about the Hagen’s fine CD accounts of Beethoven Quartets Nos. 12 and 15, I noted two salient features of its approach: a sonority that in its freedom from lushness and excessive vibrato echoes (without duplicating) “period” sonority; and a style suggestive of how the music is far closer to the composer’s middle period than we often think. In a similar vein, this is a tough, aggressive No. 16, yet one tempered by delicacy where apt and projected with sensitivity to the music’s pointed humor—a performance style that one probably was not likely to encounter 50 years ago. And fine though the Beethoven is, the Mozart may be even better, as commanding and sensitive account of the work as I have ever heard. For one thing, Sabine Meyer is superb, a true virtuoso who is capable of rendering the music’s gentler moments with a tender delicacy that is as arresting as her rapidly articulated runs in which every note is given its clearly articulated due.

Where this release falls short, at least for me, is in the video. To be sure, what it shows reveals a number of physical intricacies regarding fingering, positioning, application or avoidance of vibrato, and how the musicians interact through eye contact. But ultimately, in the hyperactivity of its shifting images, it seems a distraction from, rather than a complement to, the music. Moreover, the image one sees does not always duplicate what one hears. Meyer, for example, appears on the extreme right while sounding as if she were on the left. But—and this is the major issue—the performances make the disc worthwhile. Turn off the screen and let your speakers do the work if the visual image proves a distraction. The sound is fine. In keeping with the musical worth of these performances is the inclusion of a two-minute Capriccio presto encore from Weber’s op. 34 Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, a wonderfully whacky perpetual motion of virtuosic humor. In short, for the musical content alone this release is worth having. In the two big works, all major repeats are observed.

FANFARE: Mortimer H. Frank
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Works on This Recording

Quartet for Strings no 16 in F major, Op. 135 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hagen String Quartet
Written: 1826 
Date of Recording: 01/26/2000 
Venue:  Grosser Saal, Mozarteum, Salzburg 
Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in A major, K 581 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Sabine Meyer (Clarinet)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hagen String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1789; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/26/2000 
Venue:  Grosser Saal, Mozarteum, Salzburg 
Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in B flat major, J 182/Op. 34: Menuetto by Carl Maria von Weber
Performer:  Sabine Meyer (Clarinet)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hagen String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1815; Germany 
Date of Recording: 01/26/2000 
Venue:  Grosser Saal, Mozarteum, Salzburg 

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