Siblings in Harmony

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), March 26, 2004 | Go to article overview

Siblings in Harmony


Byline: By Richards Yates

They are almost, but not quite, a family firm. The highly-praised chamber group, the Hagen Quartet, will be making their Tyneside debut next Wednesday as guests of the Newcastle International Chamber Music Society.

The group comprises two Hagen brothers, violinist Lukas and cellist Clemens, their viola-playing sister Veronika and Rainer Schmidt on second violin, and they have won the praise of critics across the world.

All four studied at the Salzburg Mozarteum - where they have themselves taught since 1988 - and in Basel, Hanover and Cincinnati where their tutors included such distinguished musicians as Heinrich Schiff, Walter Levin and Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

They won both the Audience and Jury Prizes at the 1981 Lockenhaus Festival and went on to win first prize at 1983's Evian Competition - and their triumph at the Portsmouth (now London) International String Quartet Competition led to their debut in the capital at the Wigmore Hall.

Next Wednesday, in Newcastle University's King's Hall, from 7.30pm, the Hagens will demonstrate the wide range of their repertoire, They offer Mozart's K589 Quartet in B flat; Bartok's Quartet No 2, Op 17; and the ever-popular Debussy Quartet in G minor.

***********

Newcastle-based period instrument group The Avison Ensemble is now teaming up with Britain's oldest and most prestigious choirs for a series of performances and recordings.

The Choir of the Chapel Royal was founded around 1272 by Edward I and has been the private choir of every British monarch since. Famously, it accompanied Henry V to Agincourt, where it sang Mass on the battlefield. Today the choir sings every week for the service in St James' Palace and appears every year at the Remembrance Day parade at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.

Royal permission has been granted for the choir to join the Avisons for Music for the Stuarts, a concert next Friday at St Mary's RC Cathedral in Newcastle which profiles music by Chapel Royal composers, charting the fluctuating fortunes of their royal patrons during the 17th Century. …

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