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Schubert: Winterreise Import

8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, August 8, 2006
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Editorial Reviews


1. Winterreise, song cycle for voice & piano, D. 911 (Op. 89): Gute Nacht
2. Winterreise, song cycle for voice & piano, D. 911 (Op. 89): Die Wetterfahne
3. Winterreise, song cycle for voice & piano, D. 911 (Op. 89): Erstarrung
4. Winterreise, song cycle for voice & piano, D. 911 (Op. 89): Der Lindenbaum
5. Winterreise, song cycle for voice & piano, D. 911 (Op. 89): Wasserflut
6. Winterreise, song cycle for voice & piano, D. 911 (Op. 89): Auf Dem Flusse
7. Winterreise, song cycle for voice & piano, D. 911 (Op. 89): Rückblick
8. Winterreise, song cycle for voice & piano, D. 911 (Op. 89): Irrlicht
9. Winterreise, song cycle for voice & piano, D. 911 (Op. 89): Rast
10. Winterreise, song cycle for voice & piano, D. 911 (Op. 89): Einsamkeit
11. Winterreise, song cycle for voice & piano, D. 911 (Op. 89): Die Post
12. Winterreise, song cycle for voice & piano, D. 911 (Op. 89): Der Greise Kopf
13. Winterreise, song cycle for voice & piano, D. 911 (Op. 89): Letzte Hoffnung
14. Winterreise, song cycle for voice & piano, D. 911 (Op. 89): Im Dorfe
15. Winterreise, song cycle for voice & piano, D. 911 (Op. 89): Der Wegweiser
16. Winterreise, song cycle for voice & piano, D. 911 (Op. 89): Das Wirtshaus
17. Winterreise, song cycle for voice & piano, D. 911 (Op. 89): Mut!
18. Winterreise, song cycle for voice & piano, D. 911 (Op. 89): Die Nebensonnen
19. Winterreise, song cycle for voice & piano, D. 911 (Op. 89): Der Leiermann

Product Details

  • Performer: Christine Schäfer
  • Composer: Franz Schubert
  • Audio CD (August 8, 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Onyx Classics UK
  • ASIN: B000FI9058
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #459,126 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By David G. Tegnell on November 24, 2006
Format: Audio CD
From the Gramophone review by Alan Blyth, 9/06: "Christine Schäfer goes at the work with a will, singing it in an urgent, rather aggressive way that provides little solace to the ear. She hurries the music along, and given that hers is very far from being the ideal voice for the work, the impression left is rather a superficial one: sopranos tackle the work at their peril. Add her partner's rough-hewn, over-recorded support and the disc is something of a write-off."

It would be unfortunate if Blyth's review were to discourage listeners from investing in this lovely recording. The reading by Christine Schafer and Eric Schneider is anything but superficial. These performers bring to the cycle a modernist sensibility: Schafer filters Schubert through Schoenberg and Berg, not infrequently applying hints of sprechstimme. Schneider, who accompanied Christine Oelze on her Webern recording, is a full partner in this approach.

The soprano voice is in no way inappropriate. The text is of course metaphorical; the narrator only nominally male. In her interpretation, Schafer discovers Goethe's fragile and unstable Mignon at the heart of the German Romantic sensibility (Schafer has recorded Schubert's Mignon settings for the Hyperion Schubert series). And further, she delineates the relationship between Winterreise's harrowing vision of alienation and that of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire. Perhaps only a female singer could bring out these aspects of the cycle.

By no means are all of the tempos hurried. Schafer takes Gute Nacht at a brisk pace, treating it with detachment--as exposition, rather than autobiography. But throughout, Schafer selects dramatically appropriate tempi, and invariably finds rhythmic character that many other singers miss. With the addition of a perfect legato, she makes each piece cohere, as song.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Tom Lawrence on October 19, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Christine Schäfer doesn't wear her heart on her sleeve in this recording of Winterreise, she keeps it locked in the icebox. Instead of using her high soprano to embody the protagonist, she sings with understated dispatch (almost a whisper in some passages) to paint Schubert's bleak landscape. In doing so she magnifies the suppressed anguish of the wanderer. Accompanist Eric Schneider keeps the journey moving with a brisk, light touch.

The packaging is equally stark -- raised letters on a white cover as if the title were buried in snow; the poems printed one per page surrounded by blankness; an absence of commentary. Each song is displayed in uncluttered focus, letting the music speak for itself.

The first few bars are disorienting; the quick pace and trebly voice will make you think this disc is playing at the wrong speed. The 'Chipmunks' effect soon passes as you are drawn into the psychological drama. You might be hesitant to lay out $20 for yet another Winterreise, but this chilling performance is well worth the money.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By L. Gallagher on November 28, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I agree completely with David Tegnell's review, posted above. With all due respect to the eminence of Alan Blyth, Blyth's emphatic resistance to the modernist reading undertaken by Schafer and Schneider not only discounts the musicological trajectory that justifiably links Schubert's idiom with twentieth-century innovations, it also creates the impression that "Winterreise" lies, definitely, outside Schafer's "Fach." Those who love this cycle should buy this disc and listen for themselves. Nothing -- especially when you consider the already well-stocked library of female versions of the cycle, some of which have attained iconic status -- indicates that the material is out of bounds for Schafer. More to the point, there is a complex, musky character to Schafer's timbre -- a feature her voice shares with that of her wonderful German compatriot Dorothea Roschmann, also a superb exponent of lieder -- that lends itself startlingly well to the landscape of depression, muted nostalgia, and eviscerated hope conveyed by music and text. Listening to Schafer, I cannot help thinking of the way in which celebrated accounts of the cycle by bass-baritone voices (Hotter, Fischer-Dieskau) present an acoustic image of Everyman in extremis. Like her female predecessors -- including Fassbaender, Ludwig, and Stutzmann -- Schafer skillfully employs the resources of her voice to convey not so much the voice of Everyman as that of No One. Hers is a chronicle of someone already moribund, already en route to becoming absent. (And, unlike Fassbaender and Ludwig, she has the advantage of recording the cycle while still in full possession of her vocal skills.) Schneider, by virtue of the pristine but radically unsentimental pacing of his accompaniment, is an ideal partner.Read more ›
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By DAVIDNYC1023 on December 8, 2006
Format: Audio CD
-- I couldn't live without Winterreise. I have at least 2 dozen recordings of it. I think the most beautiful performances on disc (UNTIL NOW, FINALLY) are all by men: Matthias Goerne (with Johnson, not with Brendel - the Brendel has applause IMMEDIATELY before and IMMEDIATELY after, so distracting and almost offensive, though the performance is stunning, if it didn't have applause it would be my top choice), Peter Pears, Jon Vickers... I have female versions of this by Hunter-Bradley, Ludwig, Baird, Stutzmann, and partial performances by Lehmann and Gerhardt -- (and, now, Schaefer)... I don't know if I'd go so far as to say Christine Schaefer's is the only Winterreise I will ever need, but it is really very close, quite near. It's ice cold and scorching hot. It's so isolated and desolate, clean and pure. The piano playing (by Eric Schneider - who appears on Goerne's definitive Schubert Die Schoene Muellerin) is extraordinary, outstanding. The singing, I don't know, there's something magical to her voice, wondrous. It's like time itself singing, the voice of infinity. Stark, harrowing. I felt as if my heart stopped. This is really a stunning stunning performance in terms of singer, pianist, recording, and presentation. I love this disc, and I will live with it, lovingly, incredibly grateful, for quite some time... Side note, another "finally," FINALLY a perfect recital disc for Christine Schafer. She appears on some amazing operas/cantatas, but I've never never been completely satisfied with her "solo" efforts - maybe because I haven't been ultimately satisfied with her accompaniment (I'm not wild and crazy for Irwin Cage on either of their discs (though both are quite lovely and tender and really really good) or Graham Johnson on either of their discs (though both are, again, quite good)) - Eric Schneider is the best voice-recital pianist, I hope their partnership (and also his partnership with Goerne) lasts and lasts!
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