Schubert: Winterreise

Schubert: Winterreise

by Ian Bostridge, Leif Ove Andsnes
     
 

The idea of Ian Bostridge's "Winterreise" has promise. He has made a number of enjoyable Schubert recordings (particularly his first set on EMI, with Julius Drake), and there are surprisingly few recordings of the cycle by tenors -- the voice for which it could best be said to have been written. Throw in Leif Ove…  See more details below

Overview

The idea of Ian Bostridge's "Winterreise" has promise. He has made a number of enjoyable Schubert recordings (particularly his first set on EMI, with Julius Drake), and there are surprisingly few recordings of the cycle by tenors -- the voice for which it could best be said to have been written. Throw in Leif Ove Andsnes, one of today's hottest young pianists, at the piano and you have what seems to be a recipe for success. But "Winterreise" is an order of magnitude more difficult than almost any other song cycle out there. It demands a wide vocal range, both in terms of pitch and expression, and a performer so in command of his singing that he seems not to be singing at all; unlike "Die Schöne Müllerin," "Winterreise" is rarely about a good tune. Unfortunately, Bostridge struggles with the challenge. The mood swings and sense of psychological journey that make the cycle so affecting in the right hands are simply not there, replaced by occasional moments of self-conscious "expressivity" that feel neither vital nor emotionally true. Soft passages seem precious rather than intimate, and more aggressive moments bring out a throaty, tremulous quality in Bostridge's voice that distracts from the musical affect. For his part, Andsnes plays flawlessly, but without the pathos and stormy involvement that is so central to the cycle's impact. The performance is beautifully recorded, and certainly has its moments -- and anyone wanting a recording of the cycle using all the original keys from Schubert's manuscript should look here first. But this is a tough disc to recommend considering the number of truly great recordings of "Winterreise" already on the market.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times - James R. Oestreich
The meticulous and relentlessly shifting nuance of Ian Bostridge's reading of Schubert's culminating song cycle may not be to everyone's taste. But...Mr. Bostridge is a faithful and compelling guide, beautifully seconded by Leif Ove Andsnes.
Gramophone - Alan Blyth
Bostridge's command of word-painting and control is masterly. There are mesmeric accounts of "Der Wegwieser," "Die Krähe," and "Die Nebensonnen".... Andsnes is already an acknowledged master in Schubert, and he provides Bostridge with wholly sympathetic and well-considered support.
BBC Music Magazine
This individual new interpretation should be heard, and not just by the Bostridge faithful.
San Francisco Chronicle - Steven Winn
From the first notes he sings in this dramatic, emotionally gripping and sometimes daring account of the composer's valedictory song cycle, Bostridge gives the piece a present-tense urgency.... With the great Leif Ove Andsnes at the piano, this Winterreise is a thoroughgoing collaboration of the highest order.
The Scotsman (UK) - Kenneth Walton
As well as adopting the original tenor setting -- Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's legendary performances and his 1965 recording for Deutsche Grammophon skewed listeners in favour of the baritone version -- Bostridge and Andsnes have also opted for the higher original keys of some of the songs. The result is thoroughly refreshing, lifting the oppressive shadows and adding, as Bostridge puts it, a sense of "gallows humour". It's a contemporary Winterreise we hear, never a musty museum piece. Andsnes is meticulous in picking out detailed gems in the accompaniment -- little echoes of the vocal line that surprise and delight. Bostridge offers fresh vision and spontaneity, in a way you could imagine Schubert doing at those drawing room soirees depicted in the illustrations of Moritz von Schwind and Leopold Kupelweiser.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/07/2004
Label:
Warner Classics
UPC:
0724355779021
catalogNumber:
57790

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Winterreise, song cycle for voice & piano, D. 911 (Op. 89)  - Franz Schubert  - Leif Ove Andsnes  - Samuel Beckett  - Ian Bostridge  - Arlette de Grouchy  - William S. Mann  - Wilhelm Müller

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