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Schubert's Winterresie

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Edit : that should, of course, be 'Winterreise'!

What are your treasured recordings of this greatest of all Schubert song cycles?

After hearing Ian Bostridge on Radio 4 reading an abridged version of his recent book on Winterreise (it's been this week's book of the week), I've dug out some of my recordings of the piece.

As much as I like Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's baritone, I must say I prefer a tenor voice in the cycle. Christoph Pregardien, accompanied by Andreas Staier on a period forte-piano, seems particularly fine.

Are there any Schubert Lieder fans out there?

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Super Wammer

This month's Gramophone magazine arrived today and has a major article on Winterreise. I haven't yet had a chance to read it in any depth but it appears to include the thoughts of current singers inc. Ian Bostrdge, Jonas Kaufmann amongst others. I'll report back when I've read it.

Whilst I enjoy Schubert, especially his chamber music, I've not ventured into his Lieder as yet. Keep thinking that I ought to, maybe this thread and the Gramophone article will motivate me enough. Could be my 2015 music "project"!

k

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Brigitte Fassbender & Aribert Reimann.... a dark female voice suits these songs very well. Recent Jonas Kaufmann recording on Sony is excellent. I saw him sing them with Richard Goode (I think? memory is hazy) on Piano at Edinburgh festival about 13 or 14 years ago, when he was just starting his career, and they completely silenced the audience.

In the same week I also saw Matthias Goerne and Alfred Brendel perform Schwanengesang (a better set of songs IMO), what a week that was.

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The Fischer-Dieskau / Moore recording is my reference, but I'd also recommend the superb Pears / Britten, if you don't already know it. It's an astonishing insight into the work.

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Only a Wammer could publicly state that Schwanengesang is a better set of songs than Winterreise. A bit like saying that George Bush or Gerald Ford was better at growing peanuts, ie a completely pointless comparison.

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well, I get more enjoyment out of Schwanengesang than I do out of Winterreise, therefore I think it is a better set of songs. That's pretty straightforward isn't it?

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This month's Gramophone magazine arrived today and has a major article on Winterreise. I haven't yet had a chance to read it in any depth but it appears to include the thoughts of current singers inc. Ian Bostrdge, Jonas Kaufmann amongst others. I'll report back when I've read it.

Whilst I enjoy Schubert, especially his chamber music, I've not ventured into his Lieder as yet. Keep thinking that I ought to, maybe this thread and the Gramophone article will motivate me enough. Could be my 2015 music "project"!

k

You could do a lot worse than dipping into Radio 4 on iPlayer to listen to Ian Bostridge's talks on the cycle. He gives interesting insights into the piece.

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Brigitte Fassbender & Aribert Reimann.... a dark female voice suits these songs very well. Recent Jonas Kaufmann recording on Sony is excellent. I saw him sing them with Richard Goode (I think? memory is hazy) on Piano at Edinburgh festival about 13 or 14 years ago, when he was just starting his career, and they completely silenced the audience.

In the same week I also saw Matthias Goerne and Alfred Brendel perform Schwanengesang (a better set of songs IMO), what a week that was.

Interesting - I'll have to check out a female voice in the cycle. To my shame I have the Fassbaender recording but have never listened to it, so now's the time to do so.

I saw Goerne and Brendel perform it at Wigmore Hall. He has a fantastic voice, but I find his range of expression is flatter than a good tenor. I also like the forte-piano in Pregardien/Staier as the greater range of timbres the instrument offers, not to mention its lower decibel levels (compared to a modern piano), allow the singer to experiment with a wider range of expressive techniques. Song 15 (Fruhlingstraum) illustrates this very well.

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well, I get more enjoyment out of Schwanengesang than I do out of Winterreise, therefore I think it is a better set of songs. That's pretty straightforward isn't it?

As I understand it, Schwanengesang wasn't written as a cycle as such, but came from some songs collated after Schubert's death. Some of the songs in Schwanengesang are more startling than those in Winterreise, but to me they lack the cumulative power. Der Leiermann is almost unbearably painful as an end to Winterreise. It doesn't 'finish' so much as dissipate, with a suggestion that it continues endlessly.......

Anyway, each to their own.

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The Fischer-Dieskau / Moore recording is my reference, but I'd also recommend the superb Pears / Britten, if you don't already know it. It's an astonishing insight into the work.

Which Fischer-Diskeau/Moore recording are you referring to? The early 1970s one? I've not heard the Pears/Britten recording.

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Apart from whichever Fischer-Dieskau recording I have, I really enjoy whichever Quasthoff recording I have

There's a list of all recordings: http://www.gopera.com/winterreise/recordings/overview.mv?sort=singer

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Super Wammer

I've a Fischer-Diskeau/Barenboim set and have never felt the need to try others

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Which Fischer-Diskeau/Moore recording are you referring to? The early 1970s one? I've not heard the Pears/Britten recording.

It's on the HMV Electrola label (WALP 503/04), and I think this is from 1955, although there's no dates listed in the booklet or on the LPs.

I've just found the Pears / Britten on youtube;

[video=youtube;Nbq7ZAOcCrc]

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As I understand it, Schwanengesang wasn't written as a cycle as such, but came from some songs collated after Schubert's death. Some of the songs in Schwanengesang are more startling than those in Winterreise, but to me they lack the cumulative power. Der Leiermann is almost unbearably painful as an end to Winterreise. It doesn't 'finish' so much as dissipate, with a suggestion that it continues endlessly.......

Anyway, each to their own.

This.

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Super Wammer
You could do a lot worse than dipping into Radio 4 on iPlayer to listen to Ian Bostridge's talks on the cycle. He gives interesting insights into the piece.

Thanks for the suggestion, I'll try that later on today.

The Gramophone article (by Richard Wigmore) is not really a review/recommendation of available recordings but a guide to the work itself, mostly from the viewpoint of contemporary performers. These include Jonas Kaufmann, Ian Bostridge, Gerald Finley, Alice Cote, Christoph Pregardien, Roger Vignoles and Julius Drake. The general thrust is that the work is very multi-layered and open to a range of interpretations and meaning. Not much of a surprise there then !

I'm going to have to dip my toe into the water.

k

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