Winterreise was originally written to be sung by a tenor, and you can't get much better than Peter Schreier, accompanied by the refined and subtle playing of András Schiff. Schreier's resounding yet plaintive voice perfectly conveys the mood of the young man anguishing over the pangs of rejected love. With his almost innate sense of drama, Schreier presents a Winterreise you must listen to, not just experience in the background.
This recording has far better sound than the 1985 live version he did with Sviatoslav Richter, with all of its attendant background coughs, and even surpasses the previous version he did with Schiff in the late 'Eighties. His finely articulated phrasing seems to be at its peak. Listen to him sing the haunting "Der Leirmann," the final piece, so infused with romantic agony, it is downright chilling. I've never heard "Wasserflut" sung and played with both passion and restraint, but somehow Schreier manages it. This is a disc to play on long, lonely winter nights, with hot mulled cider at your side.
Copyright © 1996, Peter Bates