Mark Padmore sings Franz Schubert’s “Winterreise”
Mark Padmore tenor
Kristian Bezuidenhout forte piano
Winterreise, D 911
Winterreise, D 911
Chamber Music Hall | Introduction: 19:00
Franz Schubert’s Winterreise, after poems by Wilhelm Müller, is the supreme discipline in the field of lieder: “A stranger I arrived, a stranger I depart...” The cycle begins with this declaration of feeling lost, and the sense of alienation, of having no home, of not being accepted, is expressed in every word and every note of the 24 songs – and in the image of winter with its unrelenting cold, its unyielding ice and its loneliness. It all begins with a farewell to an intimate and what seems at first to be a promising love affair; the protagonist sets out on a winter journey that leads him more and more into isolation. Within the overall depressive mood that characterises the whole cycle, the singer is responsible for bringing out a different facet in each of the songs.
“Winterreise has that daring look at the world as it is, often cruel and lonely. At the same time it’s the story of an outsider, more like a Samuel Beckett character, somebody standing outside of life,” said Mark Padmore, this season’s artist in residence. According to the tenor, Winterreise is like the St Matthew Passion or King Lear. Padmore, who has already worked with a number of renowned pianists such as Graham Johnson, Julius Drake, Roger Vignoles, Imogen Cooper and Till Fellner, is accompanied by Kristian Bezuidenhout for this concert. “What I highly esteem in working with Kris is not only his absolute musicianship as a pianist but also his marvellous feeling for poetry itself,” the tenor said in an interview, “his great sensitivity to the text and the way it plays out in the music”. Kristian Bezuidenhout is just as at home on the historical fortepiano as he is on a modern grand piano. On this particular evening, the pianist takes to the historical keyboard instrument, and so the two artists offer their audiences the opportunity to hear the song cycle in a way it may have sounded in Schubert’s time.