Atos Trio ‘Close to Faultless’ – The Age
Clive O’Connell, The Age, 9 November 2011
COMPETING in the 2007 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, the Atos Trio scooped the pool: the major award, prize for best trio, audience prize and the Musica Viva one that guaranteed an Australia-wide tour. Back in town at last, the players are enjoying the last of these and reinforcing memories of the unanimity felt at the time about their particularly high standard of achievement. In an excellent year for the trio division, the German group impressed for near-faultless ensemble work, each member assuming equal responsibility for his or her labours and the group as an entity having the gift of viewing repertoire regulars with fresh eyes.
What made reminiscences more important was Saturday’s major program element: the Schubert B flat Trio, a work that the Atos group offered as part of their competition fare. The reading has, if anything, increased its persuasiveness with a fluid approach to rhythm that animates the score’s substantial length. As well, the players’ personalities continue to emerge clearly, Stefan Heinemeyer’s cello a compelling force both here and in the Brahms Trio No. 3, notably in the excellently accomplished third movement a test of balance and dynamics where he and violinist Annette von Hehn played a subtle antiphon with Thomas Hoppe’s dynamically controlled keyboard.
The second Atos recital on November 16 features Rachmaninov, the second trios of Schumann and Mendelssohn and Paul Stanhope’s wry Dolcissimo Uscignolo, which deftly merges its consonant Monteverdi madrigal inspiration with plenty of contemporary harmonic bite.