Radio Österreich 1, 24 February 2017
Ö1 bis zwei mit Renate Burtscher - TrioVanBeethoven pays homage to its namesake
Three instruments, all of which are equally important and engaged in rapt conversation – this is how I envisage a convincing piano trio. Respectful in its interaction, allowing one another to complete a phrase, paying them the attention intended by the composer, taking up a thought, highlighting it, being of one breath despite the fury of the tempo, with clear transitions, giving one another room for musical agogics, including small moments of surprise which only work if each knows not only their own voice, but has internalised the entire partition. TrioVanBeethoven’s interpretation easily and masterfully stands up to this kind of critical examination. Volume 4, which contains the trios op. 1/3, the “Gassenhauer Trio” op. 11 and the variations op. 44, now completes their recording of all of Beethoven’s piano trios, which are also available as a set of 4 CDs, released by Gramola. TrioVanBeethoven can also be heard live this year at its series of recitals focusing on Beethoven. The next concert will take place at the Muth, the concert hall of the Vienna Boys’ Choir, on 6 March at 7:30 pm.
Musicweb International, November 2016
Recording of the month: Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Trios Volume 3 (GRAMOLA 99117)
Somehow this series had escaped my attention and that of my fellow reviewers at MusicWeb International. In my defence, as surveyor of the piano trio repertoire, I did say that I couldn’t possibly hope to cover all recordings of the big names.
Naming your ensemble after a famous composer, especially one whose works you have chosen to begin your recording career, does create something of an expectation of a “special” relationship. Violinist Verena Stourzh has “form” here, as she was a member of the Haydn Trio Eisenstadt until its disbanding in 2010. I’m pleased to report that in this volume at least, TrioVanBeethoven does have a special relationship with the great one, as they have given us stunningly good performances here.
Beethoven’s piano trios, for me, are the least stormy, most cheerful of his output. In part, this may be due to their relatively early composition. Even the final, and perhaps greatest of them - the Archduke, op. 97 - was written in his middle period. There are none to parallel the ground-breaking late quartets and piano sonatas.
The two complete works presented here are among his sunniest. His three Opus 1 trios are very much in the mould of Haydn and Mozart, and are considered by some to be lesser works. Mature Beethoven they may not be, but I have a great deal of affection for them, and especially No. 2. No. 6 may be somewhat dwarfed by those chronologically before (Ghost) and after (Archduke) but is still a great work.
My yardstick for the Beethoven trios is the Florestan Trio and that remains so, despite the very significant impression that TrioVanBeethoven has made on me here. The Florestans give a brilliant performance, and I employ that adjective for both its meanings: splendid/excellent and glittering/bright. TrioVanBeethoven give a more genial and spacious reading of both works, especially Op. 1/2, where they take almost three minutes more. This is a smiling, playful even relaxed Beethoven, not necessarily adjectives normally applied to him, but not out of place in this work. Trio No. 6 is taken similarly, though the difference to the Florestans is less here. In case you begin to think these are old-fashioned big Romantic performances, let me assure you that they are not. There is nothing heavy about them; somehow TrioVanBeethoven have managed to balance a lightness of touch with a sense of repose. They provide a quite complementary view to the Florestans, whose brilliance might even be too dazzling, depending on your mood.
The sound quality lives up to the performances: immediate, natural and without any extraneous breathing or mechanical noises. When you factor in informative liner notes, you have the complete package. I’m off to buy Volumes 1 & 2, and I look forward to Volume 4 – may it not take too long to arrive.
Westfälischer Anzeiger, 28 October 2016
Austrian musicians enthral at Heessen Palace concert
HAMM The first public performance of Beethoven’s „Archduke Trio“ in 1814 at the same time marked the end of his career as a pianist: His deafness had progressed to such an extent that he was no longer able to control dynamic differentiation. On Wednesday evening Clemens Zeilinger, TrioVanBeethovens’s pianist, whetted the audience’s appetite for music in his initial moderation for the Heessener Palace concert. With his partners Verena Stourzh (violin) and Franz Ortner (cello) he sounded the nuances of the master’s last composition for piano trio. […] Zeilinger’s lyrical approach decided to forgo heroic effects and instead focused on a widely laid out cantabile. With perfect skill, feeling and fire, the three Austrian top instrumentalists offered new insights into Beethoven’s oeuvre. After this intense milestone in the history of piano trios, both the artists – the opus requires 45 minutes of fullest concentration – as well as the audience were in need of a short interval in order to prepare themselves for what was to follow. Johannes Brahms’ piano trio in B major is his earliest as well as latest composition for this format. Dissatisfaction with his early work resulted in its undergoing a radical revision 35 years on. […] With the interpretation of this late opus the three musicians yet again proved their extraordinary skills: Soloistic as well as chamber musical excellence, enriched with vital creative energy, finest nuancing, intensity, yet always smooth and emotionally captivating, all together resulted in an absolutely wonderful musical experience. Some elements of the early version, such as the bizarre scherzo or the choral-like beginning of the adagio, found grace in the old master’s critical ear. The trio thus offered an inspired interpretation, combining romantic exuberance with streamlining of form and density of motifs. Finally, the artists rewarded the enthusiastic audience with a movement from the trio in E minor by Clara Schumann, with whom Brahms was united in friendship for many years.
Wiener Zeitung, 20 September 2016
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Trios Vol. 3 (Gramola 99117)
So much classical joyfulness
Nomen est omen: In 2011, three established Austrian chamber musicians got together to form TrioVanBeethoven. The dedicated visionaries in question are the exceptionally talented pianist Clemens Zeilinger (Linz), the excellent violinist Verena Stourzh (known from her rich career with Haydn Trio Eisenstadt) and Franz Ortner, sensitive and insightful master cellist. Currently, they are en route in one of the most joyful genres for classical trio: As much as Beethoven’s quartets are earnest, as absolute his piano sonatas, so incredibly refreshing are his piano trios. The short and little known allegretto movement in B major WoO 39 (1812) is simply enchanting – just as the perfection of the four-movement early trio in G major op. 1/2 (1793) allows an insight into the future development of the composer. The trio in E-flat major, op. 70/2, the companion piece to his „Ghost trio“, finally allows the fascinated listeners to simply dive into this mastery of small cast, high-quality entertainment.
Classical music full of esprit.
Kurier, 28 August 2016
Classical Music: TrioVanBeethoven once again lives up to its name with the release of part three of the complete recordings of Ludwig van Beethoven’s piano trios. Among others, trios number 2 and 6 are interpreted with precision and vitality by Verena Stourzh (violin), Clemens Zeilinger (piano) and Franz Ortner (cello).
Oberösterreichische Nachrichten, 21 July 2016
THE HIGH ART OF SUPREME PLAY
TrioVanBeethoven’s both moving and brilliant performance in the arcade court of the “Landhaus” in Linz.
Solo as well as chamber musical perfection are characteristic of TrioVanBeethoven.
Violinist Verena Stourzh is distinguished by her creative power, her vitality and the ability to express even the slightest dynamic nuances.
Cellist Franz Ortner shows an incomparable sound in the cantilenas, yet at the same time convincing intensity and straightforwardness of play.
Pianist Clemens Zeilinger’s brilliant mastery of his instrument is precise and delicate, his interpretation of the music emotionally exciting and clever.
The variation-movement of the opening piece, Beethoven's early piano trio op. 11, on a "Gassenhauer" from the opera "The Corsair for Love" revealed the trio’s richness of ideas and pleasure of playing.
Dvorak’s "Dumky-Trio", a series of introverted lamentations, the melancholy of which is often abruptly interrupted by dance-like cheerfulness, demands fast emotional changes, imagination and technical brilliance. Qualities which TrioVanBeethoven possesses in perfection.
Trio op. 8 by Johannes Brahms, which was composed in his early years and changed radically later on, is a jewel of chamber music. The spooky scherzo, first guarded, then faster and faster, was particularly striking, and the interplay between strings and piano at the beginning of the chorale-like adagio was yet another of the many impressive and touching moments of the evening.
OÖN rating: ******
Neues Volksblatt, 22 September 2015
Bruckner-Festival: Russian Sounds in Chamber Music
Pianist Clemens Zeilinger is practically at home at Brucknerhaus Linz, where he has already been celebrated several times for cyclic performances (Beethoven, Schubert). Last Sunday he was back to present a Russian programme together with his congenial partners of TrioVanBeethoven, Verena Stourzh (violin) and Franz Ortner (cello).
The three musicians have been working together for just a few years; may they continue playing together for a very long time to come – such is their great and harmonious artistic understanding of one another! Their personal virtuosity always ranks behind the content of the piece of music they have worked on together. Furthermore, a strong affinity to Russian music could be felt this time, the deepness and melancholy of which manifested itself in a very expressive interpretation. Chamber music by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich performed in such a concentrated way is rarely heard in concert.
Shostakovich’s trios, one from 1923, the other one twenty years younger, are a kind of diary turned into music, his early work filled with the young student’s rich inspiration, later a memorial of mourning to a dead friend, reverting to Jewish folklore. Rachmaninoff’s Trio élégiaque n° 1 in G minor stands for the mourning of the death of his role model Tchaikovsky in 1893; just as the first movement “pezzo élégiaque” of Tchaikovsky’s piano trio op. 50 was dedicated to the memory of Nikolai Rubinstein. TrioVanBeethoven expressed its thanks for the ovations with an elegiac melody by Michail Glinka.
Oberösterreichische Nachrichten, 11 July 2015
Chamber Music Marathon of the finest in Mühlviertel
On Thursday the “Klassik Musikfest Mühlviertel” in Schnopfhagen-Stadl in Oberneukirchen was opened at the piano by Clemens Zeilinger, the event’s artistic director for the second time. It is a chamber music festival, the programming of which is extremely interesting. After having made “Opus 1” its centre last year, Clemens Zeilinger this year focused on two different types of instrumentations and reflected upon them from various stages of musical history: the piano trio on the one hand, the song on the other. [….]
The chosen works included not only the expected “mainstream”, but instead compositions perfectly suited to the motto of this small, but particularly fine music festival – “Friend. Foe / In Love. Related”. Ignaz Pleyel’s piano trio in A major B.448, which, in a not at all disinterested way, was published in London as a work of Haydn and badly bruised the friendship between the two composers, is a piece of music well suited to the theme of foe. TrioVanBeethoven performed this typical example of easy listening chamber music of the time in an exquisitely fine and joyful manner.
And it was just so with the equally playful and cheerful work of the plagiarising colleague – Haydn’s trio in C major Hob. XV:21. The two compositions were joined together by just the sort of rarities which for a long time were not taken seriously, two of the 429 arrangements of folk songs Joseph Haydn wrote for Scottish editor George Thomson and which are generally dismissed as odd jobs. Yet they contain much imagination and a good feel for these melodies – which becomes transparent when Anna Maria Pammer and TrioVanBeethoven embrace these gems. Beethoven in a way took on Haydn’s “job” and himself wrote 177 such arrangements – two of which were sung just as convincingly by Bea Robein.
After the interval TrioVanBeethoven played Beethoven’s final piano trio op. 97, which is of quite a different class and cannot be seen simply as a piece of entertainment. It is particularly in the andante that Beethoven reaches mastery in the art of variation, which also demands much of the listener. There was a lot of applause for the grandiose interpretation, for which the musicians after almost three hours expressed their thanks with the slow movement of Clara Schumann’s trio in G-minor.
OÖN rating: ******
Neues Volksblatt, 13 July 2015
Tracking down a mesh of relations
Extraordinary listening experience at the “Klassikfest Mühlviertel” in Oberneukirchen
For the second time now Clemens Zeilinger has managed to create a festival of select chamber music in “Schnopfhagen-Stadl”. […]
The thematic motto of “Friend. Foe. In love. Related” connects the compositions chosen by Zeilinger, and which he sees as a mesh of relations between the composers of the First Viennese School: Haydn/Beethoven or Haydn/Pleyel, but also Beethoven and his friend, pupil and patron, Archduke Rudolf. On the first evening of the festival “TrioVanBeethoven” created an atmosphere of exceptional enthusiasm among the audience with their exquisitely artful ensemble playing. Was it the liveliness of the Beethoven scherzo or the following gentle cantabile of the “Erzherzog Trio” or Pleyel’s bubbly rondo – the noticeable passion and dedication of the musicians made this evening an extraordinary listening experience. […]
Music Web International, 2 May 2015
TrioVanBeethoven’s Refreshing Approach to Music-Making
Beethoven, Fribbins, Brahms
TrioVanBeethoven at Hall One, Kings Place, London, 26.4.2015
… TrioVanBeethoven’s passionate and sincere performance suited the music well and the juxtaposition of expressive instrumental cadenzas, melodic episodes, furious passagework, ghostly harmonics and cheeky pizzicatos was deftly navigated …
… what proved to be a more than credible performance of the Brahms trio …
… the ensemble performed with determination and vigour throughout …
Bonner General-Anzeiger, 12 August 2014
Sensitivity and Department of Attack
„TrioVanBeethoven“ at Haydn-Festival Brühl
Using „The Master and his Sorcerer’s Apprentice“ as its motto, „TrioVanBeethoven“ gave a guest performance at this year’s Haydn-Festival in Brühl. Violinist Verena Stourzh had already performed several times in Brühl, previously though with the Haydn Trio Eisenstadt and Haydn, whose piano trios were again part of the programme, his being the „master“ in the afore mentioned concert title. The trio, which was founded in 2011, began the evening with Haydn’s Trio in C major Hob XV:21, and immediately set a lively mood in the first movement. The slow centre movement was a first indication of how the three members of TrioVanBeethoven act as equal partners, ending the first piece of the evening in a mischievous manner and echoing English country dances.
Haydn’s „sorcerer’s apprentice“ was Ludwig van Beethoven, whose compositions complemented the programme in Brühl. The trio thus not only portrayed the relationship between the two composers, but also illustrated a considerable development in the history of this genre. Cellist Franz Ortner was therefore allowed to take a little more centre stage in the following piece, Beethoven’s Trio in G major op. 1, 2. The ensemble proved to be very well attuned – despite having played together in this combination only since last year. Thus the various atmospheres of the opening movement succeeded convincingly and without difficulty, and the largo sounded homogenous and most expressive. The break was followed by yet more compositions by Haydn and Beethoven, their direct comparison making this concert all the more attractive.
In Haydn’s Trio in E flat major Hob XV:29 the trio charmingly translated the character of the German dances of his time which Haydn had emulated in this composition. The composer the ensemble is named after and his Trio in E flat major op. 1, 1 completed this utterly successful chamber music evening in which Clemens Zeilinger, Verena Stourzh and Franz Ortner yet again proved themselves to be sensitive interpreters.
Oberösterreichische Nachrichten, 12 July 2014
The shortest road to the human being
Exceptional opening at the Klassikfestival Mühlviertel in Oberneukirchen
Under the motto „One“ - alluding to his premiere as an artistic director - Clemens Zeilinger presented his well considered first program personally in a charming and humorous way. The concert was opened by TrioVanBeethoven: The piano trio Opus 1 Nr. 1 composed by the 23-year-old eponym was played by violinist Verena Stourzh, cellist Franz Ortner and artistic director Clemens Zeilinger on the piano and filled the hall with grand music, sparking liveliness and internalized emotional depth. Furthermore the Sonata for piano by the Estonian-Austrian contemporary Arvo Pärt is an Opus 1 Nr.1: Zeilingers wild and restless musical ride was followed by a pure „sound-meditation“. With Beethoven’s „Gassenhauer-Trio“ Opus 11 the audience could enjoy one more variation of the motto „One“...
… As it was said in the opening speech: The shortest road to the human being is not a smile but music. In that case you were sure to expect a unique, heartily received and applauded evening .
Neues Volksblatt, 12 July 2014
Beethoven – Piano Trios Vol. 1 (Gramola)
Three years ago pianist Clemens Zeilinger founded TrioVanBeethoven as an expression of his attachment to the masters of Viennese Classicism, as well as because of his love for chamber music. His congenial partners on this CD are violinist Verena Stourzh and cellist Erich Oskar Huetter, both likewise experienced chamber musicians, with whom Zeilinger forms an ensemble almost unparalleled with regard to homogeneity and artistic agreement.
With TrioVanBeethoven simply everything is right. Nothing sounds scholarly overloaded or obtrusively sentimental. The recording begins with the popular „Ghost Trio“ op. 70/1 (1808), with the musicians bringing out the contrasts of its striking dynamic spectrum in an exemplary manner. Next, follows piano trio in E flat WoO 38. Composed by 20-year-old Beethoven, it is clearly influenced by Mozart and Haydn and a brilliant test of talent due to its dense piano score. The trio concludes with Beethoven’s first work from opus 1: This composition is equally modelled on Haydn and Mozart, inspiring the trio to interpret it in a particularly airy and delicate manner. Friends of chamber music should not let this CD pass.
Bühne, 7 January 2014
THE SPIRIT OF TRUE MUSICIANS
TrioVanBeethoven plays Beethoven
Beethoven, Piano Trios Vol.1, TrioVanBeethoven (Gramola)
It was only in 2011 that pianist Clemens Zeilinger, violinist Verena Stourzh and cellist Erich Oskar Huetter founded TrioVanBeethoven. The far longer experience in chamber music the three young musicians have becomes apparent, however, in a CD with which they debut their recording of all of Beethoven’s piano trios. They masterfully engage in a dialogue in which the instruments sound once confrontational, once coalescing. Be it in the early E-flat major trio, in op. 1/1 or in the ghost trio – with their great sense of style, an ideal balance of sound and the fresh spirit of true musicians this young trio easily wins you over.
Kleine Zeitung Graz, 20 August 2013
REIN. Two exquisite string players, violinist Verena Stourzh and cellist Erich Oskar Huetter, contributed to making this well-attended trio-evening in the summer refectory of Rein into an electric musical experience. Significant impulses to the sound came, however, from the verve, impetus and sensitivity of pianist Clemens Zeilinger ... the festival-owned Steinway was made to sound extraordinarily nuanced, colourful and, especially in Beethoven’s Trio op. 1/3 in C-minor, full of polished and rhythmical finesse. In Felix Mendelssohn’s D-minor Trio op. 49 the technical virtuosity was such it made one’s ears sweat. In Franz Liszt’s own trio-adaptation of the piano piece „La vallée d’Obermann“ (new title „Tristia“) the violinist handled the actually „unplayable“ octave passages towards the end with bravura. Busy artistic host and cellist Erich Oskar Huetter offered sonourous richness and thus, difficile dictu, even countered the full richness of the piano. Only too logical therefore that the appreciation of the audience went far beyond pure warm-heartedness.
Kleine Zeitung Graz, 15 December 2012
Gripping and Virtuoso Emotionality
“TrioVanBeethoven” performed with passion and virtuosity at an Advent season concert of the “Styrian Chamber Music Festival” in Rein convent. Pianist Clemens Zeilinger, violinist Verena Stourzh and cellist Erich Oskar Huetter presented a stirring and emotionally moving interpretation of Beethoven’s “Ghost Trio”. Lyric sweeps thrillingly contrasted with parts bursting with power. No less gripping was Schubert’s Trio in E flat major D 929 - agonizingly torn, melancholy and consoling all at once. EMS
Kronen Zeitung, 24 August 2012
Styrian Chamber Music Festival, Rein: TrioVanBeethoven
...Only one year after it's inception the piano trio has proven itself to be highly in sync. Along with an intuitive and flexible tempo direction of all, the two string players' wonderful chemistry draws one in, their full, soulful and sophisticatedly vibrating tone forms a clear musical intersection....
...Brahms‘ opus 87 brought great moments to close the evening – such as the deeply moving paired octaves of Stourzh and Huetter, cultivated to completion in the „andante con moto“, or the nervously flittering, churning Scherzo.
Kleine Zeitung Graz, 24 August 2012
A „wealthy“ Trio evening
REIN. „Reichtum“ („Wealth“) is this year's festival motto. A trio evening at Stift Rein's refectory hit that note perfectly.
The „TrioVanBeethoven“, comprising the energetic yet never brusque pianist Clemens Zeilinger, violinist Verena Stourzh, known for her work with the Haydn Trio Eisenstadt as well as the cellist Erich Oskar Huetter is but a year old. Their interplay was so marvelously flawless that it was a true joy to behold. An (overly) long piece by the only 13 year old Erich Wolfgang Korngold formed the centerpiece amidst Haydn and Brahms. Encore from the namesake.