I was much saddened to learn of the death, on 9 July 2023, of the pianist Margaret Singer. As recently as late October 2022 she was still active, recording songs by my father, Richard Flury, in Solothurn with Stephanie Bühlmann – a Toccata Classics release on 4 August 2023. As ever, she stayed with us in Biberist.
In February this year she contracted COVID. Alerted by her son, the emergency services found her in a completely weakened state in her Karlsruhe apartment. She was hospitalised and, once her condition was more stable, she flew with her son to the USA, where she died.
I first met Margaret in Karlsruhe in 1989, where she was accompanying Ulf Hoelscher’s violin class. After one lesson, Ulf asked her to accompany him in the Richard Strauss concerto, which he was due to perform the next day. She agreed and sight-read the piano reduction with an accuracy that simply stunned me. I subsequently engaged Margaret for numerous CD recordings of my own works and those of my father: piano concertos, chamber music, works for solo piano. etc. She always turned up very well prepared for the sessions, which she tackled with stamina and concentration.
Among her many qualities the most prominent were her musicality, her mastery of the piano, her modesty and dedication. She dealt with the music she played without needing lengthy explanation. Technical problems on the piano simply did not arise; even when she was sight-reading, the most difficult pieces appeared to present her with no problems. These talents would without doubt have enabled her to pursue an outstanding career as a solo pianist, but she preferred an unassuming life in service to music and musical education. She accompanied countless singers, instrumentalists and chamber-music partners; and she passed on to them valuable advice and tips from her wide experience. Not without reason did Gerald Moore, probably the greatest accompanist of all time, hail her first prize at London’s Royal Academy of Music with the words ‘she was the only one who sang with the singer’.
We shall miss Margaret, not just her artistic side but for her humour, her straightforward manner, her attentive listening. We are fortunate to have known her and pleased that she will continue to speak to us through her many recordings.
—Translation by Niall Hoskin
(Photo at top – Producer-engineer Carsten Kümmel, Urs Joseph Flury, Margaret Singer and Stephanie Bühlmann at the recording of Richard Flury Lieder in the Kleiner Konzertsaal, Solothurn, Switzerland, in October 2022)