Following up his Schöne Müllerin, baritone Christian Gerhaher now dedicates himself to Schubert’s second great lieder cycle, Winterreise. Also based on poems by Wilhelm Müller, it was composed only four years later, in 1827, but the two cycles are musically worlds apart. Whereas Die schöne Müllerin, despite all the disillusion it contains, has stretches of high spirits and consolation, the basic mood of Winterreise is depressive from the outset: “A stranger I came, a stranger I depart…” Thus the cycle begins. The feeling of alienation, of homelessness, of not being accepted is expressed in every word and every note of the songs – and in the image of winter with its relentless cold, its rigid ice and its loneliness. “Songs are rather like intuitions, an art that tends to abstraction,” said Gerhaher once in an interview – a statement that identifies the baritone as an ideal interpreter of Schubert’s profoundly dark work. His recording of the Winterreise was widely acclaimed on its release in 2001. Then as now he is partnered by Gerold Huber, a pianist with whom he has collaborated since his studies. Huber’s music making, in Gerhaher’s view, is both powerful and sensitive. “For me personally, fidelity is a particularly fruitful virtue in this relationship. It’s a bit like that of a married couple.” In advance of his recitals, Christian Gerhaher will give a talk on the two cycles on 15 November.