Franz Schubert's 1827 song cycle Winterreise provides insights into his troubled state of mind in the early months of that year, and were it not well documented that he was gloomy and depressed, the persistent darkness of the music would certainly convey that idea. In baritone Florian Boesch's interpretation on Hyperion, the expression is shaped by his varied delivery, at times sweetly lyrical and tender and sung in almost hushed tones, as in the opening Gute nacht or the closing Der Leiermann, and at others bitter and resentful, characterized by a kind of urgent sprechgesang that first appears in Die Wetterfahne, and recurs throughout the cycle, notably in Rückblick, Im Dorfe, and Der stürmische Morgen. Boesch's dramatic presentation is admirably supported by pianist Roger Vignoles, who provides a spontaneous accompaniment that follows the cycle's wild mood swings and expands on them. While this performance may strike some listeners as overly demonstrative, rather than purely musical, Boesch's rendition of Der Wegweiser unites both elements in what seems to be a synthesis of melodic smoothness and disturbed emotion.
Schubert: Winterreise Review
by Blair Sanderson