Trio Marvin triumphs in the chamber

Berlin's Trio Marvin.

Berlin’s Trio Marvin.

Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition finals
Melbourne Recital Centre, July 8

The day of reckoning for this competition brought six ensembles to the Recital Centre stage, each playing an own-choice work to mount evidence of talent, interpretative skill and technical prowess.

Two of the three piano trio finalists chose the same showpiece – Ravel in A minor – and their interpretations proved to be markedly different. The Trio Gaon was ultra-smooth and emotionally moderate, the Amatis Piano Trio was less polished yet more individual in timbral mix.

Both were surpassed, however, by Trio Marvin which produced an enthralling account of Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s Op. 24 Trio, written almost simultaneously with the great E minor Trio by his friend Shostakovich and just as overpowering to experience live.

The jury, quite rightly, gave the Marvins first place, the Gaon players upstaging the more animated Amatis outfit.

Later, two of the quartet finalists played Brahms: the US-based Callisto ensemble grappled with the formidable C minor Op. 51 No. 1, followed by the Goldmund group from Germany powering through the A minor, Op. 51 No. 2.

Displaying some vaulting ambition, the Eliot Quartet essayed Beethoven in A minor Op. 132 with laudable technical breadth and a reassuringly eloquent opening, but the work’s Dankgesang core sounded rushed.

Again, the competition jurors got it right by giving first place to the Goldmunds for an idiomatic, passionate and engaging reading.

As for the grand prize of $30,000, it went to Trio Marvin, a group worth watching for their dedication, insights, and a performance bravado that catches your breath.

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