Four-eye-talks with music

Published in the Rheinische Post on 10 June 2016 and on RP-Online.

Even 160 years after his death, Robert Schumann is still warmly congratulated in Düsseldorf on his birthday. In fact, the musicians around pianist Severin von Eckardstein gave a "birthday concert" in the Tonhalle. Birthdays are celebrated with friends, and this concert with pieces by Brahms, Prokofieff, Rachmaninoff and Robert Schumann was also marked by friendship. None of them, which was not created under the impression of a close connection between two people and which could be heard by such wonderful performers.

So in 1890 Johannes Brahms decided to stop composing and even announced this to his publisher. A year later, however, he wrote a trio in A minor for a friend, the clarinettist Richard Mühlfeld, whose playing inspired Brahms excessively. With a version for viola, cello and piano, Nimrod Guez, Danjulo Ishizaka and Severin von Eckardstein delighted the audience - they managed a wonderful balance between questioning melancholy and Brahmsian gentleness.

In contrast, the violinists Liza Ferschtman and Franziska Hölscher showed virtuoso expressivity in Prokofieff's Sonata for two violins. What lesson of friendship do they teach? The four-eye-talk, pardon, the eight-string dialogue: Two musicians and two instruments come as close to each other musically as rarely in ups and downs. In the second movement there is already scratched and hammered what it takes. That touches.

Final then Schumann, chamber music of the finest quality: In the four movements of the Piano Quintet in E flat major, everything resonates that form will also define Schumann's musical heirs: the juxtaposition, the togetherness, the interplay of man and music. The musicians create something wonderful here: intimate, profound, but sometimes driving the individual to the extreme.

This evening in the Tonhalle, and especially the piano quintet, is a magnificent conclusion to the Schumann Festival 2016, which attracted around 14,000 visitors this year with touching moments and big names.