Schubert - Winterreise
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Label: Harmonia Mundi
Cat No: HMC902107
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 10th November 2014
ArtistsMatthias Goerne (baritone)
Christoph Eschenbach (piano)
This 'Winterreise' is the long-awaited conclusion to Matthias Goerne’s Schubert Edition, which began in 2008, for harmonia mundi. Here everything is tenser, more urgent, more harrowing. This winter landscape expects no spring to come; nor will the Hurdy-Gurdy Man give any answer.
In the intimate atmosphere offered by this recording, still more than in concert, the path to oblivion finds its echo in our innermost selves.
"I would rank this among the finest recital discs I have ever heard." - Michael Tanner, BBC Music Magazine ***** / **** (Vol.7 Erlkönig: Gramophone Editor’s Choice, Disc of the Week – Radio 3, CD Review, 9 Feb 2013)
“At his finest, here and elsewhere, Goerne touches greatness as a Schubertian.” - Gramophone (Vol.8 Wanderers Nachtlied)
1Schubert - Winterreise: Gute Nacht
2Schubert - Winterreise: Die Wetterfahne
3Schubert - Winterreise: Gefrorne Tranen
4Schubert - Winterreise: Erstarrung
5Schubert - Winterreise: Der Lindenbaum
6Schubert - Winterreise: Wasserflut
7Schubert - Winterreise: Auf dem Flusse
8Schubert - Winterreise: Ruckblick
9Schubert - Winterreise: Irrlicht
10Schubert - Winterreise: Rast
11Schubert - Winterreise: Fruhlingstraum
12Schubert - Winterreise: Einsamkeit
13Schubert - Winterreise: Die Post
14Schubert - Winterreise: Der greise Kopf
15Schubert - Winterreise: Die Krahe
16Schubert - Winterreise: Letzte Hoffnung
17Schubert - Winterreise: Im Dorfe
18Schubert - Winterreise: Der sturmische Morgen
19Schubert - Winterreise: Tauschung
20Schubert - Winterreise: Der Wegweiser
21Schubert - Winterreise: Das Wirtshaus
22Schubert - Winterreise: Mut!
23Schubert - Winterreise: Die Nebensonnen
24Schubert - Winterreise: Der Leiermann
This is Goerne's third recording of Schubert's wintry masterpiece, and the depth of his experience as a Lieder singer is evident throughout. It is ten years since his last account (with Alfred Brendel on Decca, live from the Wigmore Hall), and while there's an interpretative consistency overall, two things stand out on this new disc. First is the obvious closeness of Goerne to Wilhelm Müller's texts: he now inhabits them so closely that – especially as a native speaker – there's no need for the sort of micro-management that sometimes distracts with rival singers. Instead, there's a true narrative sweep, from the very first steps of 'Gute Nacht' to the haunting strains of 'Der Leiermann' (The Hurdy-gurdy Man).
The other striking feature of this account is the gradual darkening and intensification of the music-making throughout Part 2. The pointillist account of 'Letzte Hoffnung' is unsettling enough, but in the last five songs – not least 'Das Wirtshaus' and 'Die Nebensonnen' – Goerne brings to his velvety baritone a pained and hushed identification with the wanderer's psychological predicament, at times almost breathing the words rather than singing them. The singing throughout the cycle is the equal of any rival, but these last few songs are utterly transcendent.
Accompanying Goerne on this journey (as he did for Die schöne Müllerin and Schwanengesang) is Christoph Eschenbach. As a conductor, Eschenbach may divide opinion, but as an accompanist he's about as close to perfection as it's possible to get. He constantly matches Goerne in depth of insight: when details are highlighted, it's never at the expense of the narrative flow, and he's clearly attentive to the text and mood throughout.
There have been a number of superb Winterreisen in recent years, but this new account ranks very high among them, and for many it may now even prove a first choice. The partnership of Schubert's genius and Goerne's almost shocking identification with the songs is a winning one, and anyone who values Lieder singing at its most potent will want to acquire it as a matter of urgency. With a recording of remarkable immediacy, excellent presentation, and full texts with translations, it's an enormously compelling release.
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