FoM Recordings

Franz Schubert: Winterreise

John Elwes, tenor; Kenneth Slowik, fortepiano

FoM 20-001, recorded 2006

In his 1858 reminiscences, Schubert's friend Joseph von Spaun describes the first time he and others in the Schubert circle heard Winterreise:

"For some time Schubert appeared very upset and melancholy. When I asked him what was troubling him, he would say only, 'Soon you will hear and understand.' One day he said to me, 'Come over to [Franz von] Schober's today, and I will sing you a cycle of horrifying [schauerlicher] songs. I am anxious to know what you will say about them. They have cost me more effort than any of my other songs.' So he sang the entire Winterreise through to us in a voice full of emotion. We were utter dumbfounded by the mournful, gloomy tone of these songs, and Schober said that only one, Der Lindenbaum, had appealed to him. To this Schubert replied, 'I like these songs more than all the rest, and you will come to like them as well.'"

The composer's prophecy came true: people have long recognized in this cycle of twenty-four songs one of the nineteenth century's most profound masterpieces.

—from Susan Youens's liner essay The Winter of the Spirit: Schubert's Winterreise (Winter Journey), D 911


Erstarrung (Numbness)

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The misery in Einsamkeit, the pain that Die Post evokes, the nightmarish depiction of the village in Im Dorfe, the resignation before Das Wirtshaus, the resignation in Die Nebensonnen – there is a remarkable consistency throughout. In several ways this reading of Winterreise moved me more than any other version I have heard. I’m filled with respect and admiration for such a heart-on-the-sleeve approach. I felt drawn to it and repelled in the same breath. I know I will be returning to this disc . . . It may be shocking – but also stimulating.
$16.00 + $2.98 shipping and handling
On this album: 

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

Winterreise, D. 911

Op. 89, on texts by Wilhelm Müller

[1] Gute Nacht

[2] Die Wetterfahne

[3] Gefror'ne Tränen

[4] Erstarrung

[5] Der Lindenbaum

[6] Wasserfluth

[7] Auf dem Flüße

[8] Rückblick

[9] Irrlicht

[10] Rast

[11] Frühlingstraum

[12] Einsamkeit

[13] Die Post

[14] Der greise Kopf

[15] Die Krähe

[16] Letzte Hoffnung

[17] Im Dorfe

[18] Der stürmische Morgen

[19] Täuschung

[21] Der Wegweiser

[21] Das Wirtshaus

[22] Mut!

[23] Die Nebensonnen

[24] Der Leiermann