Michael Hasel Flute, Andreas Wittmann Oboe, Walter Seyfarth Clarinet, Marion Reinhard Bassoon, Fergus McWilliam Horn
Winterreise (arr. for tenor, accordion and wind quintet by Normand Forget)
Christoph Prégardien Tenor, Joseph Petric Accordion
Franz Schubert: Alfred Brendel in conversation with Peter Gülke
Christine Schäfer Soprano, Eric Schneider Piano
Schubert left no doubt regarding the existential nature of the songs in his 1827 Winterreise: “They have affected me more than has ever been the case with any other songs.” Contemporaries such as Josef von Spaun also detected the constant “sombre mood” of the cycle, which tells the story of unrequited love. However, in doing so, in contrast to Die schöne Müllerin, the music does not follow a narrative. Rather, the songs describe walking in the winter, with the forlornness and desolation of the landscape reflected in the protagonist’s own feelings.
The composer’s friend, the poet Johann Mayrhofer, made the connection between Winterreise and Schubert’s real life situation: “He [Schubert] had had terrible experiences [...] For him, winter had begun. The irony of the poet, rooted in desolation, spoke to him; he expressed it in cutting tones.”
Many composers, including Berlioz, Liszt, Brahms, Reger, Webern and Britten have orchestrated Schubert songs. As recently as 1993, Hans Zender wrote his “composed interpretation” of the Winterreise. A few years later, the oboist Normand Forget made an arrangement of the piano part for accordion and wind quintet with an unusual combination of instruments – a rarely-heard version, performed here by Christoph Prégardien together with the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet and Joseph Petric (accordion).
This will be followed by a second performance in the original version, sung by Christine Schäfer, accompanied by Eric Schneider. Added interest is provided between the two parts of the concert when the two acknowledged Schubert experts, Alfred Brendel and Peter Gülke, share their thoughts on the composer with the audience.