Post by Oscar Post by Andy Evans
Mid December as I write, seems the right time to think about Winterreise. Also no recent threads on this.
What are your favourite versions?
Don't buy Wolfgang Holzmair with Imogen Cooper on Philips. The velvety high baritone is too smooth and his identification with the text is not impactful. It's all surface. Nice voice, but... Cooper is better. Goerne's second recording with Eschenbach on harmonia mundi, from 2014, is more to my liking.
Also, buy Ian Bostridge's 2015 book, Anatomy of an Obsession, and read it: http://tinyurl.com/j4ctbxq
Philips 446 407-2 ℗ © 1996.
Recorded in the Großer Saal, Mozarteum, Salzburg, November 1994.
Artist & repertoire production: Brigitte Stockmann.
Recording producer, balance engineer: Volker Straus.
Recording engineer: Cees Heijkoop.
Tape editor: Evert Manning.
Booklet note: Peter Branscombe.
Photo: Stefan Fiedler.
Art direction: George Cramer.
Total playing-time: 1.09'55".
I like Holzmair more than Oscar does. Certainly when listening to one of
his Dichterliebes a while ago I was reminded how much I like his
singing: I really like his voice (maybe that's also personal, the
quality of a voice appealing more to some than to others?) *and* his
interpretations (which may sometimes sound fussy to some). I don't play
his recordings often enough.
But then there are so many. And it's true that in the Winterreise, he
wouldn't be my absolute top candidate. As wouldn't Souzay, for instance,
however much I like his singing.
Goerne is good; I haven't extensively compared his three versions, but I
suspect his last may be the most interesting. (But the first with
Johnson was good too.)
But my top recommendations would go to Pregardien/Staier, any of the
Quasthof recordings (with Spencer or with Barenboim, or the bootleg of
the live broadcast with Pires that is afloat on the internet, but
obviously has limited sound quality), and especially one I most recently
was totally bowled over by: the Boesch/Martineau recording. Boesch is
really terrific (also live, when I heard him in the Müllerin).
And I definitely wouldn't want to be without Christine Schäfer and
Brigitte Fassbaender either.
Werner Güra has a nice recording (beautiful voice), Roman Trekel's isn't
bad (the first one on Naxos; I haven't heard his remake on Oehms yet).
Dermota, Kurt Equiluz are recordings I definitely hold on to. Sometimes
I like to listen to Peter Anders, for a different, more operatic (it
sounds to me) approach. Von Elsacker and Beghin have an interesting new
recording. It seems Von Elsacker's singing isn't to everyone's taste,
but Beghin's playing is definitely remarkable. And Harvey/Cooper, probably.
A couple that are on my "yet to explore list" waiting beside the cd
player (next to Trekel's Oehms remake): Bauer & Mauser, and Zeger
Vandersteene & Levente Kende.
Oh, let's not act as though Fischer-Dieskau doesn't exist. I made my
acquaintance with the Winterreise through his DG recording with Moore,
which still has a special place for me. Although now I'd probably sooner
put the one with Demus in the cd player. And one of his early mono
efforts once in a while. I steer clear of any of his Winterreise's after
the one with Moore on DG (e.g. Barenboim, but especially the ones with
Brendel and Perahia).