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Great reviews for the Trio Apollon’s recording of 20th century works

Great reviews for the Trio Apollon’s recording of 20th century works

Trio Apollon, consisting of clarinet, viola and piano, makes its debut recording on the Warner Classics label with an eclectic programme of 20th century works by composers from France, Hungary, Romania and Germany. Founded in 1990 by Matthias Glander, principal clarinet of the Staatskapelle Berlin, Felix Schwartz, principal viola of the same orchestra, and pianist Wolfgang Kühnl, Trio Apollon consists of what Robert Schumann considered to be the most romantic combination of instruments. Individually, the Trio members have performed around the world as soloists with orchestra, in other chamber music ensembles and with such prominent colleagues as Daniel Barenboim, Yo-Yo Ma, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Nikolaij Znaider, Yefim Bronfman, Giora Feidman, Pinchas Zukerman, Christine Schäfer and the late Boris Pergamenschikov. Trio Apollon focuses on Austrian and German Classical and Romantic duos and trios, 20th century French compositions and contemporary repertoire. There are three trios on this CD: Françaix wrote his in 1990 in celebration of the 300th birthday of the clarinet and based it on the instrumentation of Mozart’s classic “Kegelstatt” Trio. Schumann’s Märchenerzählungen (Fairy Tales), for the same instruments, in turn, moved Kurtág to compose his Hommage à Robert Schumann in 1975. The contemporary German composer Siegfried Matthus (b 1934) wrote Wasserspiele (Water Games) for Trio Apollon as part of a chamber music cycle aesthetic tribute to nature. The other parts of the cycle are Windspiele, for string trio, Lichte Spiele, for piano quartet, and Feuerspiele, for string quartet. Matthus, who studied with Rudolf Wagner-Régeny and Hanns Eisler and who worked for many years at Berlin’s Komische Oper as Dramaturg and composer, has rejected avant-garde expression in favour of music that “speaks,” “convinces,” and “communicates.” Wasserspiele consists of a prologue, that returns as an epilogue, and several inner sections in which the listener can make out French-influenced sonorities and blues-esque rhythms, among others. Poulenc and his colleagues in “Les Six” aimed to return from Wagnerian pathos and Debussian impressionism to the clarity of Classicism. His Clarinet Sonata in the traditional three-movements follows Classical principles of themes and contrasts. It was completed shortly before his death in 1963 and was premiered at Carnegie Hall by Benny Goodman and Leonard Bernstein. The violinist, pianist, conductor and composer George Enescu studied with Fauré and was heavily influenced by Brahms, whose presence hovers over the Konzertstück for viola and piano. Written when Enescu was 25, it was intended for instrumental competitions at the Paris Conservatoire. The Observer and The Times have both given the CD great reviews, the latter awarding 4-stars, and the BBC Music Magazine stated that it is ‘well worth having for its trio of contrasting trios’ and Classic FM Magazine said, ‘unusual repertoire well played’. Jean Françaix: Trio for clarinet, viola and piano (1990) Francis Poulenc: Sonata in B-flat for clarinet and piano (1962) György Kurtág: Hommage à Robert Schumann, Op. 15d for clarinet, viola and piano (1975) George Enescu: Konzertstück for viola and piano (1906) Siegfried Matthus: Wasserspiele for clarinet in A, B-flat and E-flat, viola and piano (2001) (World Premiere Recording)