Schubert: Winterreiseby 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 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.
- Release Date:
- Warner Classics
- Winterreise, song cycle for voice & piano, D. 911 (Op. 89)
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