Debussy Suite Bergamasque
‘Prélude’ Moderato, F major
‘Menuet’ Andantino, A minor
‘Clair de lune’ Andante très expressif, D♭ major
‘Passepied’ Allegretto ma non troppo, F♯ minor
Bach Prelude & Fugue in A major WTC II
Schubert Sonata in A major D 664
Allegro moderato A major
Andante D major
Allegro A major
Liszt La Campanella
Chopin Sonata in B minor Op 58
Allegro maestoso B minor, ending in B major
Scherzo: Molto vivace E-flat major
Largo B major
Finale: Presto non tanto B minor, ending in B major
WARM WELCOME FOR RETURNING PIANIST
Valentin Schiedermair, Piano
Valentin Schiedermair was given a warm welcome when he returned
to Newport Music Club to give a recital on Saturday last.
The programme notes say that he draws on all his exceptional
background and experience to take the audience on a musical
journey. A well-chosen programme that was likely to please
concert-goers, did just that.
Valentin began with a selection of movements from Debussy's
Bergamasque Suite, Prelude, Menuet, then a familiar 'lollipop'
- the ever popular Clair de lune - finishing with Passepied. Departing
from the constraints of strictly diatonic forms, Debussy's atmospheric music set the scene for a concert of contrasts. The following work, the A major Prelude and Fugue from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier displayed a return to the clarity of disciplined harmonies, played with great precision.
The three movements of Schubert's early Sonata in A (664) provided melodies expected from this composer; some happy, and then some sad moments. One of the joys of attending a concert by Valentin is hearing the interesting information he gives as he introduces each piece; with the Schubert we heard that the composer was on holiday when he began this, hence the joyfulness in the first movement? But sadness creeps in a little in the beautiful Andante movement (wintry mood) before, maybe, in the last movement Spring returns. To finish the first half of the evening the exciting Campanella by Liszt was performed with great exuberance and a formidable technique, which was much appreciated by us all.
The second half of the concert was devoted to the four movements of Chopin's Sonata in B minor - Romantic music at its most complex. Confidently representing self, it is thought, in the first theme, but progressing by turn through contemplative, lyrical, anxious, agitated moods, played brilliantly by Valentin.... Could we hear strains of Beethoven? Did the last movement presage The Ride of the Valkyries? It certainly was a 'Tour de Force'.
Surely there would not be an encore after all the expenditure of energy needed for this emotional journey? But yes, a lovely Chopin Nocturne was an appropriate ending to an evening of great entertainment.
The next Music Club concert at the Cosy Hall is by the Astaria String Quartet on January 19th at 7.30pm. Everybody welcome!
Review by Diana Corlett
Photograph Mike Loveless
©Newport Music Club, Shropshire 2018
A Valentin Schiedermair performance is more than just a concert….it is a musical event. This London-based German pianist engages with his audience and draws on all his exceptional background and experience to take them on a musical journey. His objective is simple - to share the joy and excitement of music with his audience.
Valentin Schiedermair’s solo tours of China, Taiwan and Singapore drew enthusiastic audiences in fifteen major cities. In Taipei alone he has already given six recitals and they usually finish only after five or six encores. The University of Shenzhen has awarded him a guest professorship in recognition of his contribution to the musical exchange between China and Germany. TimeOut magazine in Singapore made his recital No1 critics’ choice of the month. It was attended by the German Ambassador and he was invited to give the final concert of the first Singapore Beethoven Sonata Cycle. He also gave the opening concert of the Beethoven Piano Festival in Beethoven’s birthplace in Bonn, Germany.
Schiedermair, who made his debut at a sold-out Berlin Philharmonic Hall, learned from some of the best and has been developing his unique blend of virtuosity and insight in concerts, recitals and orchestral performances world wide for more than 30 years. He comes from a family of scholars with musical roots going back to the 18th century and grew up playing chamber music with his father at the cello. His great-grandfather, himself a pianist and composer, was one of the leading musicologists of his day. He published the first complete edition of Mozart’s letters and founded the Beethoven Archive in Germany, the leading research centre for Beethoven.
Valentin Schiedermair received a classical education in Heidelberg where he studied at the music academy with Paul Dan and won first prize in a piano competition. Another prize in Lugano followed, and he took lessons with the Chopin prize-winner Halina Czerny-Stefanska and her Polish husband Ludwig Stefanski. Aged 20 he won a further prize in Barcelona and was chosen as one of two German students in the performing arts to continue his studies in New York with scholarships from the Annette Kade Foundation and the Fulbright Commission.
In New York Schiedermair found a stimulating mix of teachers. He heard Horowitz play in Carnegie Hall and took lessons with Gary Graffman, Horowitz’s favourite pupil, who taught him much of the core classical and Romantic repertoire. He continued his studies at the Vienna Music Academy under Hans Kann, then in London with Peter Wallfisch at the Royal College of Music. Master classes with virtuosos Shura Cherkassky, Bruno Leonardo Gelber, Mieczyslaw Horszowski and many others completed his studies. Not surprisingly, he is now in demand for master classes in Europe and Asia where he passes on the musical tradition he experienced first-hand. Master classes have taken place at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore, Shenzhen University in China, the National Chiayi University in Taiwan, the Chinese Culture University, Shih Chien University and Aletheia University in Taipei as well as the Mannheim Music Academy in Germany and the Guildhall School of Music in London.
Since his first radio recording aged 16 Schiedermair has developed a large repertoire and his concert career has taken him all over the world. He is a frequent guest at international festivals and has given live and recorded recitals for radio. His CDs have won him many friends in Asia, where he tours regularly.
Valentin Schiedermair also composes and teaches composition. He grew up in a family with a close affinity to the music of Mozart, Beethoven and the romantic composers. While his style is essentially intimate and lyrical, his playing conveys passion and drama in equal measure. He enjoys researching the historical and biographical background to the music he plays to get as close to it as possible – and to share this enjoyment with his audience.
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