> SCHUBERT Winterreise Gerhaher 74321807772 [CC]: Classical Reviews- January 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Die Winterreise, D911.

Christian Gerhaher (baritone); Gerold Huber (piano).
Recorded in Studio 2 of Bavarian Radio, Munich on January 13th-17th and 19th, 2001. [DDD]
ARTE NOVA Lieder 74321 80777-2 [77.59] Superbudget


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This is a good, but certainly not great, Winterreise. The super-budget market has pulled its socks up since its early days and Gerhaher and Huber provide a moving, if not life-changing reading. There are, indeed, various points at which I prefer this duo to Olaf Bär and Geoffrey Parsonsí thinly recorded 1988 version, recently reissued on EMIís budget Double Forte label on CZS5 74855-2 and coupled with Die schöne Müllerin.

Gerhaber has a rounded voice (entirely suited to world-weariness) and is intelligent throughout. He has a sense of the dramatic and can summon up a wide range of emotions from thinly-veiled desperation (Die Wetterfahne) to physical tiredness (Rast), intense sadness (Das Wirtshaus) and tenderness (Der Lindenbaum).

His attentive accompanist, Gerold Huber, is, if anything, even more attuned to Schubertís journeyman. A list of his achievements and insights would be a very long one. Try his carefully-weighted accompaniment to Gerforne Tränen, or his sensitive handling of tremolandi in Einsamkeit (which can so easily seem melodramatic in the wrong pair of hands).

Interpretatively, there are some question marks. Although Die Post is better than Bär/Parsons by far, it is slightly under-tempo (it still retains its infectious rhythmic impetus, though). Der stürmische Morgen, whilst conveying the idea, is hardly gale-force. The acid test, the final song Der Leiermann is blessed with a good hurdy-gurdy from Huber but fails in the final analysis to move the listener in the way that the scoreís greatest interpreters can. To really move to the heart of this music, one has to reacquaint oneself with the likes of Fischer-Dieskau and Moore in 1971 (DG 415 187-2), the slow and bleakly presented Schreier and Richter on Philips 442 360-2 or the black-voiced Hotter and Mooreís unforgettable 1955 version (EMI Great Recordings of the Century CDM5 66985-2).

Colin Clarke

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