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Trio Apollon

  • Piano Trio


Trio Apollon press reviews

The Apollon Trio was celebrated more than once with ovations. It was a joyous and wonderful evening filled to the brim with musicality, a perfect ensemble performance that left you with the impression that, however high the level of virtuosity that evening was, technical problems remain simply nonexistent...

Trierer Volksfreund 10/'08


We cannot praise this event more highly than to say that it was over far too soon! For nearly two hours the audience of about 200 were lost in the world of longing for Italy and the world of Belcanto with the most subtle of folkloristic associations. However the audience was very reluctant to allow the Trio Apollon and Iris Vermillion to leave.

WLZ Frankenberger Zeitung 08/'08


In wonderful harmony

Siegburg - "Kennst du das Land, wo die Zitronen blüh'n?"- do you know the country where the lemons grow? These words by Goethe could be the motto for this stellar concert from the "Resonances Series" in the City Museum. With melodic lines filled with longing and selected musical works all connected with Italy, the country of blossoming limes, Annette Dasch and the "Trio Apollon" held the audience spellbound.

The concert opened with Michail Glinka's trio "Pathétique". The "Trio Apollon" composed of soloists of the Berlin Staatsoper was fascinating in their "supremely romantic assembly of instruments" (clarinet, viola and piano), as Robert Schumann would have said. With the homogeneous balance of parts, a perfectly attuned dynamic-melodic forming and an obvious pleasure in creating music, Matthias Glander (clarinet), Felix Schwartz (viola) und Wolfgang Kühnl (piano) performed the work of the Russian composer. The transitions in the solo parts of the aria-style Largo were alternated between the instruments in such a subtle manner that they went nearly unnoticed, due to the musicians adjusting their instrumental voices so perfectly. Longingly pathetic tunes that Glinka composed during his travels in Italy in 1832 pervaded the hall and were made accessible to the audience in the Trio's interpretation.

Annette Dasch's performance of three different interpretations of the Mignon song "Kennst Du das Land ..." followed seamlessly. Annette Dasch set even the highest notes in pianissimo with ease. With a seemingly unending breath she formed the widely spanned melody arcs by Schubert, Schumann and Wolf. She articulated the painful longing of Mignon in her rendering. In this way the emotions communicated by the music found their immediate expression in the songs. Kühnl's piano was a musical partner to the voice, engaged in dialogue or accompanying, always technically and musically perfect.

Glander und Schwartz were able to demonstrate their virtuosity with Verdi's "Rigoletto"- fantasy for clarinet and Paganini's sonata for viola. The wonderful harmony of Annette Dasch's voice together with Glander's bassett horn was shown in their performance of Mozart's aria "Non più di Fiori". Following the concluding four songs from Hugo Wolf's "Italian Songbook", the audience celebrated the artists with long applause and standing ovations.

Janine Christgen - Köllner Stadt Anzeiger 8.4.2008


...the rendering of Michael Glinka's trio "pathetique" by the Apollon Trio was breathtaking- consistently superlative technical demands were met by all the instruments in a perfect trio sound. There couldn't have been a better opening...

Märkische Allgemeine 12/'07


... they teased the most subtle of sounds from ther instruments and virtuosity was also very present.

Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten 12/'07


... and here the elegant mastery, the technical virtuosity and the resulting touch of ease were impressive. The Trio demonstrated what chamber music really signifies and what it means to create an intimate sphere of sound, be it in the communal performance, in the contest of the instruments or in the interwoven solo parts. There was always the evidence of a tasteful noblesse, with an accentuated levity, never too pathetic, and with a fresh balance of convincing emotions throughout...

Aalener Nachrichten 03/'07


The musicians manage to establish the connection with the great composers and you begin to love the wonderful legato lines from the inspired clarinet rendering by Glander, the heavy burden of melancholy in the strands of chord arpeggios by the piano and the beguiling beauty of the great sound of the viola... In the following excerpts from Max Bruch's opus 83 the chord strands of both melodic instruments blend. It is difficult to hear the differentiated sounds, as the unisono motives are so far amalgamated. The eastern national colouring in Bruch's "Rumanian melody" creates a connection with Enesco and the subsequent "Gassenhauer"-Trio by Beethoven has an association with Mozart. Ravel's "Pavane" that followed after enduring applause combines the perfected chamber music tendency that is so typical for the Apollon Trio.

Schwäbische Post 03/'07

Music by Kurtág and Françaix with the Apollon Trio

Nearly everything leans towards and follows Mozart. He has led several genres to near perfection, and this particular one he has actually invented: the trio for clarinet, viola and piano. Owing to the relationship of the medium registers a subtle dreamily sombre combination is created, at the same time, because both melodic instruments also ascend to soprano heights and in the process decisively change their colours, an ideal space for experiments to which the piano actually adds all the layers and the intellectual perspective.

This musical trinity first appeared in 1786 in the "Kegelstatt-Trio" in E major, where Mozart assigned to himself the viola, to his friend Anton Stadler the clarinet part and to his highly esteemed pupil Franziska Jacquin the piano part. Afterwards this cast of friends was seldom used and if at all, then in a retrospective indirect association with Mozart or directly associated with other deceased colleagues, as if this special form were a kind of chain letter to be received only by very special persons. At first Robert Schumann took up the ideal in his rhapsodic "Fairy Tales". György Kurtág was not the last in the chain with his "Hommage à R.Sch." in 1975, a half dozen short pieces for clarinet, viola and piano, with titles inspired by literature such as "I was a cloud, now the sun is shining". These character pieces by Kurtág are now in the fourth position of Trio Apollon's third album, which is the first to be published by Warner.

It is a remarkably soulful interpretation emulating the ancient ideal where melodic instruments should be adapted to the human voice. Together with this there is a delicate dealing with dynamics, the utmost care in articulation and phrasing, a profound understanding for the literary subtext of the composition and above all a symbiotic understanding among the musicians, a current of warmth that is a near-physical experience. These perfectly rounded chamber music property is also noticeable in the audacious swinging trio that Jean Françaix composed in honour of the three hundredth birthday of the clarinet and in the motoric-idyllic "Water Games" which Siegfried Matthus dedicated to the Trio Apollon four years ago.

Are you wondering from where the three got their name? There was no artistic-olympian ambition involved, just simply the performance address of the inaugural concert way back in 1990:the Apollo hall in the Berlin Staatsoper unter den Linden. Bratschist Viola soloist Felix Schwartz and clarinet soloist Matthias Glander have been orchestra colleagues in Barenboim's Staatskapelle for years, the third soloist, Wolfgang Kühnl, is much sought-after for accompanying songs. After the fantastic impression this album leaves behind we can only hope that the Trio Apollon will expand, extend an explore beyond the limited repertory this composition of soloists brings along. At the end of the last, most lengthy and Mahler-inspired Kurtág composition the clarinet soloist sets aside his instrument and once softly beats on the big drum into the ebbing sound. And this is the final sounding of the entire genre: a thud to the heart, here I am, Brother Death.

Jean Françaix, Trio; George Enescu, Concert Piece for Viola and piano; Francis Poulenc, Sonata for clarinet and piano; György Kurtág, Hommage à R.Sch. op. 15d; Siegfried Matthus, Water Plays. Trio Apollon. Warner 2564 62513

Elenore Büning- Frankfurter Allgemeine 24.12.2005