Brahms - String Quartet No. 3 in B flat major, Op. 67 and Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34 (2019)

Brahms

Hagen Quartett

Kirill Gerstein (born 23 October 1979) is a Russian-American pianist. He is the sixth recipient of the Gilmore Artist Award. An American citizen since 2003, Gerstein divides his time between the United States and Germany and is currently a professor of piano at the Musikhochschule Stuttgart.

After decades of playing together, the members of the Hagen Quartet are at the apex of their interpretative careers. Tonal and rhythmic coordination is totally effortless. The “baton passing”, from one instrument to the next, is impossibly smooth. The four members of the ensemble truly play like a single organism. At the same time, they still share with their listeners a tremendous pleasure of exploring together all the corners of the repertoire. Together with Kirill Gerstein, they are a genius couple.

The Hagen Quartet performs on instruments made by Antonio Stradivari, known as the "Paganini" Quartet, generously on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation. Kirill Gerstein plays a Steinway & Sons D-274 Piano, Serial Number 573968

 

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Kirill Gerstein

Kirill Gerstein’s curiosity and versatility has led to an intense engagement with a wide range of repertoire and styles. From Bach to Adès, his playing is distinguished by its clarity of expression, discerning intelligence and virtuosity. Gerstein’s energetic and imaginative musical personality has taken him rapidly to the top of his profession. 2015 saw the release of the world premiere recording of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto in the composer`s own final version from 1879. The recording won an ECHO Klassik award and was nominated for a BBC Music Magazine Award. Based in Berlin, Kirill Gerstein appears world-wide in performances ranging from concerts with the Chicago and Cleveland Orchestras, the Royal Concertgebouw, Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics, to recitals in London, Paris and New York. He is the sixth recipient of the prestigious Gilmore Artist Award, presented every four years to an exceptional pianist who, regardless of age or nationality, possesses broad and profound musicianship and charisma, and who performs internationally at the highest level. The prize enabled Gerstein to commission new works by Oliver Knussen, Chick Corea, Alexander Goehr, Brad Mehldau and Timothy Andres.

photo: from album booklet

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Brahms - String Quartet No. 3 in B flat major, Op. 67 and Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34 (2019)

Brahms

Hagen Quartett

    HRAudio.net

Regretting that Myrios no longer releases Super Audio CD’s (SACD), many will be glad to learn that recordings will henceforth be available through downloadable digital files from Native DSD. And let me assure all classical music fans: Not only doesn’t it have any negative impact on the quality, but you will also get the choice of higher resolutions than available on the physical product. Moreover, these files are not limited to the maximum duration of an SACD. With this latest release, Myrios offer the classical niche market two of Brahms’ best-loved chamber works. The short of it is that I find Brahms’ 3rd String Quartet, Op. 67, as performed by one of Europe’s (Austria) oldest and arguably best string quartets, the finest I have heard in a long time, whilst the Piano Quintet, Op. 34, with the much-lauded Russian born, American pianist, Kirill Gerstein at the grand, sweeps away much of today’s competition. This should not come as a surprise. Over the years, the Hagen’s have amassed a multitude of accolades. Adding my comments would, no doubt, be a repetition of all that has already been said or written. Giving it nonetheless a try, I’d say that their precision, interplay, and sound-shaping reminds me of the late Alban Berg Quartet, with one huge difference: Where the ABQ’s were just very good, the Hagen family (+ one) offer more in terms of emotion; mesmerizing the audience in their interpretation of the 3rd String Quartet with a judicious combination of affection and enchantment. Moreover, by skilfully shifting intensity and color, they raise this loving piece of music to a level unmatched by anything else in this genre. Furthermore, and without the slightest intention to diminish my admiration for any of its players, I’d like to lift out the viola of Veronika Hagen, whose sensitive playing goes straight to the soft spot I have for the sonority of this instrument, especially with regard to her part in the third movement. One does not always realize how important the viola is for an overall, balanced sound picture. With the Piano Quintet, we enter a different world. This combination was, In those days, a novelty, ‘invented’ by Robert Schumann. The liner notes (downloadable as well) describe its complicated origin. Self-critical as Brahms was (as well as being susceptible to comments) the piece has been worked and reworked several times, resulting in something remarkably monumental, to my mind with symphonic allures, similar to his First Piano Quartet. Kirill Gerstein, supported by the Hagen’s give it a majestically powerful, though at times (second movement) intimately romantic reading. In doing so, it becomes abundantly clear that Gerstein is the quartet’s preferred pianist. In spite of inherent difficulties, stemming from the various reworkings of the original score, we get here a balanced and most attractive account. Radiating a sense of common enjoyment, with individual parts developing seamlessly from one hand to the other. But what I admire most of all is that these musicians never resort to exaggeration, they serve the music, not themselves, nor, for that matter, their own glory. Stephan Cahen, the musical brain behind Myrios, whose recording standards are widely known to be of the highest available level, has done it again. Putting everything in proper and prizeworthy (to be taken literally, I hope) perspective, this release should, without any doubt, find its well-deserved way amongst the most discerning music lover.

Adrian Quanjer[read full review]

    Takt1

The Hagen Quartet strikes a decisively angular tone for Brahms's final string quartet. The first movement has a strikingly brusque feel to it. This lets up slowly in the second movement, and in the third, the tone is sweet and tender. The strong contrast between the expressive quality of the movements, as well as the wide range of tonal colors, make it clear why the Hagen Quartet is held in such high esteem. They are joined by Kirill Gerstein for the piano quintet, who fits in wonderfully with the other musicians, keeping pace with their versatile approach.

Brahms - String Quartet No. 3 in B flat major, Op. 67 and Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34 (2019)

Brahms

Hagen Quartett

Exeecutive Producers: Maja Ellmenreich, Stephan Cahen
Instrument note: The Hagen Quartet performs on instruments made by Antonio Stradivari, known as the "Paganini" Quartet, generously on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation.
Mastering Engineer: Stephan Cahen
Notes:

NativeDSD selectively creates higher DSD bitrates of label's releases using two methods (Merging Technologies Album Publishing and Singnalyst HQPlayer Pro), depending on the original edited master source. In order to understand the processes, a bit of background is appropriate.  

NativeDSD sells only recordings that were originally recorded in DSD or DXD (352.8KHz PCM). The overwhelming majority of these recordings were edited and post processed in DXD, then converted (modulated) into DSD deliverable bit rates. NativeDSD acquires the label's original DXD edited master, and using Merging Technologies Album Publishing, creates a first generation DSD64, DSD128, and DSD256, as well as a DXD FLAC deliverable.  Additionally, on selected recordings, a 32bit PCM WAV file is extracted (the DXD PCM FLAC is 24 bits by format definition), and uses it to modulate a DSD512 using HQPlayer Pro.

The exception to the above are the few label recordings (Yarlung, Eudora, Just Listen etc.) that record in DSD, and do no PCM post processing mixing, level balancing, EQ etc. That's doable by restricting post processing to just editing, where only the edit transition interval (typically 100ms or less) is PCM converted, leaving the DSD music content unaltered when rendered. For those recordings, the DSD edited master (the actual recording master with edits) is used with HQPlayer Pro to re-modulate the missing DSD bitrates.

Why do any of this? It's to provide a DSD bitrate deliverable choice, allowing a customer to purchase the highest DSD bitrate their DAC will support.

It's correct that there's no additional music content information contained in the higher DSD bit rate from the original DSD bitrate. What's different is the uncorrelated modulation noise content placement in the frequency spectrum. When a DSD original file is converted to DXD (PCM), the inherent DSD modulation noise is removed through the decimation filtering, and re-inserted when modulated back to DSD. The modulation noise (again, uncorrelated) is the carrier part of the DSD bitstream modulation, and an inherent part of the DSD bit stream.

 

While the spectorial shape is the same regardless of the DSD bitrate, it's effective start and end points move an octave higher for every doubling of the DSD bitrate. For DSD64, the uncorrelated modulation noise is about -110dB at 20KHz, rising to about -50dB at 100KHz. For DSD512, the modulation noise is about -110dB at 160KHz, and -50dB at 800KHz. What this allows is for the customer's DAC to use gentler, more Gaussian shaped reconstruction filters, with far improved phase response.

 

Piano: Kirill Gerstein plays a Steinway & Sons D-274 Piano, Serial Number 573968
Piano Technician: Daniel Brech
Producer: Stephan Cahen
Recording Engineer: Stephan Cahen
Recording Location: Kammermusiksaal Köln and Radio Bremen Sendesaal
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD 64

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MYR021: Brahms - String Quartet No. 3 in B flat major, Op. 67 and Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34
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Tracks.
1.
String Quartet No. 3 in B flat major, Op. 67 - Vivace
Brahms
00:10:25   N/A
2.
String Quartet No. 3 in B flat major, Op. 67 - Andante
Brahms
00:07:32   N/A
3.
String Quartet No. 3 in B flat major, Op. 67 - Agitato, Allegretto non troppo - Trio - Coda
Brahms
00:08:39   N/A
4.
String Quartet No. 3 in B flat major, Op. 67 - Poco Allegretto con Variazioni
Brahms
00:10:06   N/A
5.
Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34 - Allegro non troppo
Brahms
00:16:01   N/A
6.
Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34 - Andante, un poco Adagio
Brahms
00:08:36   N/A
7.
Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34 - Scherzo. Allegro
Brahms
00:07:52   N/A
8.
Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34 - Finale. Poco sostenuto - Allegro non troppo ??Presto, non troppo
Brahms
00:10:54   N/A

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