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  • Schubert: Winterreise ~ Quasthoff
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Schubert: Winterreise ~ Quasthoff

16 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 13, 1998
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$5.01 $3.46

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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Written the year before Schubert's death, these 24 songs describe a journey that takes us ever deeper into the frozen landscape of the soul, and this superb performance evokes and communicates every nuance of their wintry bleakness and despair. Quasthoff is a fabulous singer; his voice is dark, perfectly focused, infinitely variable in color and inflection; his intonation and diction are impeccable; his breath control is unlimited. Quasthoff identifies completely with both words and music; his deeply inward expressiveness makes these heartbreaking songs almost unbearably moving. The piano sound is a bit dry and remote, but the playing is splendid, setting mood and atmosphere, creating and underlining character and emotion. --Edith Eisler

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
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Product Details

  • Performer: Charles Spencer
  • Composer: Franz Schubert
  • Audio CD (October 13, 1998)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Classics / RCA
  • ASIN: B00000DFKL
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,025 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Ivan Pataki on November 21, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I'd rather say that the interpretation of Thomas Quasthoff is a radically different one from that of Fischer-Dieskau. What's new in this recording is a kind of distance or objectivity in regard of these lieder, it's not a romantic version and that's what makes of it an even more tragic one. The phrases of Quasthoff accompanied marvellously by Spencer make us feel as we took part really in this freezing journey. I've got the chance to listen to a concert diffused by ZDF (Germany), where Quasthoff was accompanied by Maria Joao Pires. If somebody could tell me how to get in possession of this beautiful recording, I'd be a happy man, 'cause on this occasion I discovered my favourite baryton singer. To listen as well: Matthew-passion with H. Rilling by Hannsler Verlag
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Stephen T. Andrews on June 19, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I own five copies of Winterreise - Prey, Fischer-Dieskau, Goerne, and Hampson in addition to this one. All the rest take a very baritonal approach - Goerne seems to want to be a tenor most of the time. Quasthoff has a completely different sound; rich in quality throughout the registers. Note that he is also singing the standard Peters "Low Voice" keys.
Emotionally, this is also very satisfying. The craziness is not on the surface as with Hampson or (to some extent) Prey. In the last song, Leiermann, this a little disconcerting - there one almost expects the weirdness. But elsewhere, the approach is to grasp the musical core first, and then find the expressiveness in the words, not to tell an overall existential story. But each song is done very powerfully.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Irene Girton on November 9, 1998
Format: Audio CD
Everyone and his brother - tenors and baritones, at least -- seems to have recorded Schubert's heartbreaking song cycle, "A Winter's Journey." Until now, no one since Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's landmark offering of 1965 has sung these 24 songs with such a combination of pathos and artistry. Thomas Quasthoff, a 38-year-old German bass-baritone, is a direct descendant of Fischer-Dieskau's in terms of his mellow tone, impeccable intonation, and sensitive partnership with his admirable accompanist, Charles Spencer. He adds to these gifts his personal experience as a thalidomide baby, born with short stature and vestigial arms and hands. Awareness of physical disability disappears, however, as he takes on the persona of the tragic winter wanderer, leaving home and love behind.
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Format: Audio CD
I have loved the 1960s recording by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau since it first came out and have not really found any recording since then that gave me the emotional experience that DFD's did. But now I have. And his luscious dark voice qua voice is more beautiful than DFD's. Quasthoff takes a rather more objective stance; he's the narrator more than the subject of the cycle, and that's valid. By the time we get to "Der Leiermann" one is wrung out by the tragedy imparted.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Thomas F. Cooke on January 5, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Of the lower voices on the scene right now, Thomas Quasthoff is by far and away my favorite. He combines an incredible range with incomparable vocal quality (the warmth of his voice is evident on this recording) and a willingness to depart from "beautiful" when the text calls for something different. His peers mostly offer the same sound, all the time - a sound that plays best in large halls. While Quasthoff can fill the larger halls at will, it is his versatility that makes his lieder so wonderful.

This is a wonderful recording of Winterreise - Quasthoff and Spencer make the cycle sound effortless, almost to a fault. Their interpretation at times seems too cautious, particularly in view of Quasthoff's usual readiness to take interpretive risks. He chooses the "low voice" arrangements which place the songs in the heart of his range, sometimes at the cost of excitement at the top. Nonetheless, they capture the essence of the music and text. "Der Wegweiser" and "Das Wirtshaus," for example, are perfect.

With that qualification, I have played it again and again. He's the best.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 15, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I agree that Mr. Quasthoff's interpretation conveys less personal forlornness than some other renditions. Yet his more narrative approach dramatically conveys the tragedy inherent in the story. His heavy voice, especially in the low range, is perfectly suited to songs such as "Gefrorne Tranen," which calls for a true "bass" sound. I think it's a matter of personal preferance. Matthias Goerne's recording is my personal favorite; to my ear he has the more beautiful voice, and he conveys a more aching sense of loss. It's a recording I could listen to every day. Quasthoff's is equally moving and gorgeous, just different.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. Moss on May 20, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Words fail to describe the wonderful coloration of Thomas Quasthoff's phrasing in this masterful recording. Not since Fischer-Dieskau has a lieder singer been so complete musically in every way. He simply has a perfect instrument that will not disappoint even the most discriminating listener. I highly recommend this recording to anyone who loves lieder.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 8, 2006
Format: Audio CD
By 1998 when this Winterreise was recorded, Thomas Quasthoff had thoroughly mastered lieder style. He sings with beautiful articulation and understands the poetry. But good as his performance is, it doesn't take risks. In a few short years Quasthoff would discover the incredible range of color and tone that he uniquely delivers today. The earlier Quasthoff produes a firm, steady baritone with only a few tonal changes. In addition, he had yet to join forces with his later, superlative accompanist, Justus Zayan. At their best they are the only match for Pears and Britten to be heard. On this CD Charles Spencer plays proficiently and discreetly but no more. The recorded sound is rock-star close--we could use a little more breathing room.

P.S. - A recent DVD of Winterreise captures Quasthoff at the top if his form expressively. Many admirers are no doubt happy with it, but to me, the piano part, as played by Daniel Barenboim, is mannered to the point that is drags the whole performance down. A warning to the wise.
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