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Roderick Williams and Iain Burnside complete their survey of Schubert’s song cycles with this recording of Winterreise. Composed in the late 1820s, towards the end of Schubert’s tragically short life, Winterreise (Winter Journey) is a setting of twenty-four poems by Wilhelm Müller and describes a traveller leaving the town which was the home of the object of his unrequited love, to embark on a long journey, through a chill, wintry landscape, which ends in near-suicidal despair.

This recording represents the culmination of a project that started back in 2015, when Williams accepted the challenge to prepare and perform all three song cycles in one season at the Wigmore Hall in London. Turning this challenge into a shared learning experience, Williams lead workshops and study days as well as numerous performances in a variety of venues. His blog covers the entire project and is a fascinating document well-worth reading: http://rwschubertcycleproject.blogspot.com/

As in the case of the previous instalments (Schwanengesang and Die schöne Müllerin), also recorded at Potton Hall, Suffolk, Roderick Williams is accompanied by Iain Burnside, who plays a Steinway Model D.

“… Williams’’ is a performance marked by vocalism completely unfettered by any mannerisms, and interpretatively honest to a fault. His German is perfectly inflected and fastidiously attentive to the poetic details of poet Wilhelm Müller’s texts. Williams’ initially restrained delivery is crystal-clear, judicious, and elegant, but when he comes to Auf dem Flusse he lets the pent-up despair the poet has held under control burst forth. It is a chilling, gut-wrenching cri de coeur as moving as one has ever heard in many a performance of this musical journey into the darkness at the end of life’s road… Throughout the hour-long plus performance Iain Burnside is the ideal partner, supportive throughout, assertive when the music demands it, technically impeccable. There are many recorded performances of this music – so many in fact that wags may be tempted to ask if one should want another Winterreise. Without hesitation I would answer “yes” if the offering is of such high quality as this perfectly engineered, sublimely performed CHANDOS CD.”
Rafael de Acha – Rafaelmusicnotes.com – 1 February 2021

Track List

Schubert, Franz

Winterreise, op.89, D911

1.I Gute Nacht (Good Night). Mäßig

2.II Die Wetterfahne (The Weathervane). Ziemlich geschwind
3.III Gefrorne Tränen (Frozen Tears). Nicht zu langsam
4.IV Erstarrung (Numbness). Ziemlich schnell
5.V Der Lindenbaum (The Linden Tree). Mäßig
6.VI Wasserflut (Flood). Langsam
7.VII Auf de Flusse (On the River). Langsam
8.VIII Rückblick (Backward Glance). Nicht zu geschwind
9.IX Irrlicht (Will-o'-the'Wisp). Langsam
10.X Rast (Rest). Mäßig
11.XI Frühlingstraum (Dream of Spring). Etwas bewegt - Schnell
12.XII Einsamkeit (Loneliness). Langsam
Zweite Abteilung
13.XIII Die Post (The Post). Etwas geschwind
14.XIV Der greise Kopf (The Grey Head). Etwas langsam
15.XV Die Krähe (The Crow). Etwas langsam
16.XVI Letzte Hoffnung (Last Hope). Nicht zu geschwind
17.XVIIIm Dorfe (In the Village). Etwas langsam
18.XVIII Der stürmische Morgen (The Stormy Morning). Ziemlich geschwind, doch kräftig
19.XIX Täuschung (Delusion). Etwas geschwind
20.XX Der Wegweiser (The Signport). Mäßig
21.XXI Das Wirtshaus (The Inn). Sehr langsam
22.XXII Mut! (Courage!). Ziemlich geschwind, kräftig
23.XXIII Die Nebensonnen (The Mock Suns). Nicht zu langsam