Winterreise was dubbed by Schubert ‘a cycle of spine-chilling [schauerliche] Lieder’. What so shocked the composer’s friends when he sang through the first 12 songs, and still shocks today, is the starkness and almost minimalistic bareness of the writing, and the obsessive exploration of a mind veering between delusion, wry, mocking self-awareness and nihilistic despair. Here are three outstanding traversals of Schubert's emotionally draining winter's journey.
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Jonas Kaufmann; Helmut Deutsch (Sony Classical)
'Kaufmann’s combination of vocal beauty and verbal sensitivity (his diction always a model), and the fastidiously textured and coloured playing of Helmut Deutsch, make this new recording an important addition to the vast Winterreise discography...'
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau; Jörg Demus (DG)
'The whole effect is of a pair communing with each other and stating the sad, distraught message of Schubert's bleak work in terms of a personal message to the listener in the home...'
Alice Coote; Julius Drake (Wigmore Hall Live)
'Few Winterreises enjoy Coote’s colouristic range. She has a soprano’s brightness in the upper reaches but welcome mezzo weight that she effectively uses to convey the abrupt arrival of a cold front...'
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