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Talented with Subtle Instinct for Sound

Sontraud Speidel at the Schumann House in Endenich

By Barbara Kaempfert-Weitbrecht

The concert in the Schumannhaus in Endenich, which was played now after being cancelled when the pianist was ill, was a piano recital that cannot be imagined better. The young German pianist, who won first prizes in international competition, and who is very successfully playing concerts worldwide, is already professor at the State Colleges for Music in Trossingen and Karlsruhe. Sontraud Speidel is a master of subtle touch and of a cultivation of sound that is reflected and felt in the smallest details. Her art of musical phrasing and her subtly pointed fluctuation of speed prove her high musical talent and her endowment for interpretation with a deep, poetic seriousness. Her obvious, “workmanlike” skills and her completely efficient technique form the basis of her spiritualized espressive gestures, which made the evening with Sontraud Speidel an event.

The artist arranged a large program for her making up her previous absence, beginning with Czerny’s “La Ricordanca”. The brilliant cascades of this series of variations was completed with fascinating light-footedness and delicacy, and was a light-hearted entrance to the remaining program. The main was of course Schumann, whose impromptus op. 5 were played first, which culminate in a finale with lively forward motion, and containing a fugue as its center. The Kreisleriana Fantasies op. 16, which was the largest piece of this evening, was ideal to display the expressiveness and the musical art of the performer by the rapidly changing conditions of the soul. Two posthumously published, characteristic movements from op. 14 and op. 22 supplemented the examples from Schumann’s work.

A very special, beautiful and rich field for Sontraud Speidel’s sensitive exegesis of expression and sound, were also the Variations op. 9, of Johannes Brahms. Small wonder that the endless applause at the end of the evening did not let the artist go without playing an encore.

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Translation: Dr. Jürgen Rodeland, John Nisbet