The Atos Trio closed out the Fortas concert series at the Kennedy Center on Thursday night with a resoundingly fine performance. This German group, formed in 2003, has risen steadily through the ranks to become one of the elite piano trios before the public today. In a program of Haydn, Beethoven and Dvorak, it demonstrated, phrase by phrase, why in-depth study and repeated performances are important.
I say this not just to take a shot at Midori and Friends, who appeared in the same hall the previous evening (and played the same Haydn trio, almost unrecognizable compared with Atos’s mellifluous and richly detailed performance), but to decry a growing trend in the profession generally. The “cross-pollination” so prevalent today, whereby young musicians flit between a variety of different projects, genres and styles, pays dividends in some ways but often diminishes the product in traditional repertoire. A great interpretation of a classic masterpiece cannot be rushed, no matter how brilliant the musicians involved.