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What everyone had been waiting for, patiently, is the farewell piece: Paganini's Variations on a Theme from Rossini's Moses in Egypt. Niccolo Paganini (1782-1840) was known to be one mean composer, loving not only evocations of the devilish influence in his violin playing, but also delighting in composing works so difficult that he himself couldn't play them. Steckel can, and under his and Mednik's guidance, Paganini not only stays governable but also receives a distinctly handsome touch of generosity.

Taking stock of the concert at the end, everyone was pleased, too pleased, for the bravo calls would not end and the audience clearly hoped to profit from its ongoing enthusiasm that turned into a call for mercy: for the musicians to provide some more of their fine playing. Two hours had barely seemed enough and Steckel eventually conceded to play Schumann as an encore. But all good things must come to an end, and when the end came there was a rush for the backstage door where the fans remained firmly in place until cellist and pianist appeared, to sign autographs, converse with fans and friends, and in the midst of it all was Steckel's splendidly handsome cello, which commands attention wherever it goes.

Julian Steckel and Mara Mednik. Photo © Tess Crebbin
Julian Steckel and Mara Mednik. Photo © Tess Crebbin

Next, the cello will be traveling, with Steckel in tow, to more concert performances across Germany, with a brief stopover at Kronberg for the Pergamenschikow memorial concert on 21 October, before it is time to hop across the pond for some concerts in Mexico. Then it's off to Poland with the objective to delight audiences there with the warmth of its tone.

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Copyright © 21 October 2004 Tess Crebbin, Germany


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