Ian Bostridge

Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin; Winterreise; Schwanengesang

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Probably released to capitalize on publicity surrounding English tenor Ian Bostridge's book on Schubert's Die Winterreise song cycle, this three-CD-one-DVD set collects previously issued Bostridge material, although that's not very clear from the packaging (it doesn't include a booklet, texts, or much of any information at all). The three song cycles come from Bostridge recordings made with EMI in the 2000s decade, each with a different pianist, and there is a DVD including a somewhat bizarre dramatization of Die Winterreise set in a mental hospital (not that the idea is too discordant with the material of the cycle). The presentation has an unappealing four-for-one quality, but it does bring out Bostridge's strong points. No one would nominate this tenor for prizes in beauty of tone, but his engagement with the texts is impressive. His work with accompanists Mitsuko Uchida, Leif Ove Andsnes, and Antonio Pappano, all famed interpreters in their own right and all with their own ideas about Schubert, results in interpretations that are truly the product of dual creative impulses. For a single example, try Der Lindenbaum (CD 2, track 5), perhaps the single song on the whole set most easily made hackneyed. It is almost led by Andsnes, who catches the way the piano introduces the dark psychological undercurrents of the cycle back into the peaceful scene, and Bostridge has the good sense to follow him. For those deeply into Bostridge's text-driven interpretations, this will be a real trove at a budget price.

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
blue highlight denotes track pick