To begin its 72nd season hosting fine touring chamber groups, the Ensemble Music Society engaged violinist Annette von Hehn (A), pianist Thomas Hoppe (TO) and cellist Stefan Meyer Heide (S), with which they generated their acronymed title--the ATOS Trio, a German group founded a dozen years ago. The IHC's Basile Theater was packed to the brim to hear ATOS' all-Czech concert, featuring Josef Suk (1874-1935), Bedřich Smetana (1824-1884) and Antonin Dvořák (1841-1904). The Suk Piano Trio in C Minor, Op. 2 (1891) and the Smetana Piano Trio in G Minor, Op. 15 (1857) are both early works; the Dvořák Piano Trio No. 3 in F Minor, Op. 65 is a product of his maturity, and is perhaps his greatest "absolute" chamber piece, always excepting his bewitching, often programmed "Dumky" Trio from a decade later--a trio in a class by itself.
Considering their disparate composition dates, all three trios project stormy moods here and there within each movement. Our players provided excellent control over their dynamics, their ensemble work top notch. During their loudest fortissimos, Hehn and Heidemeyer delivered wide tonal opulence which I didn't find excessive. It was their way of "marking the storm." Hoppe's fingers demonstrated excellent finesse with his nuanced passage, chord and pedal work--not to mention top notch precision with his string playing cohorts.
Now in the journeyman stage of their evolution, the ATOS group promises to enhance their attributes through the ensuing years, especially if they stay together. Oct. 14; Indiana History Center