- String Quartet No. 20 in D major ("Hoffmeister"), K. 499
- String Quartet No. 22 in B flat major ("Prussian 2"), K. 589
- String Quartet No. 23 in F major ("Prussian 3"), K. 590
This disc of Mozart's late quartets exhibits all the usual signs of a Hagen Quartett recording, that is, the playing is tight and hard and the performances are polished and powerful. But still, this is not an entirely successful disc of Mozart's late quartets because, let's face it, who wants to hear hard Mozart? This is not to say that tight Mozart isn't good. Mozart's late quartets are without a single superfluous note and the Hagen makes every note count. This is not to say that polished Mozart isn't good. Mozart's late quartets are among the most supremely polished works in Western music and the Hagen shines every phrase. And this is not to say that powerful Mozart isn't good. Mozart's late quartets are lovely and lyrical, but they are still powerfully composed, powerfully compelling, and powerfully affecting and the Hagen puts all of its strength into every movement. But this is to say that Mozart isn't hard, that is, he isn't a hard guy who responds well to the Hagen Quartett's hard tone, hard attack, hard rhythms, and hard interpretations. Mozart's late quartets are lovely and lyrical and there is little that is lovely or lyrical about the Hagen's performances. While one always welcomes recordings by the Hagen Quartett, one wishes for more Beethoven or Berg or Bartók and less Mozart. Deutsche Grammophon's digital sound is crisp, but warm and never hard.