David Alden directs this Channel 4 television production, in which Ian Bostridge performs Franz Schubert's 'Winterreise', accompanied by Julius Drake on the piano. Also included is the documentary 'Over the Top with Franz', which examines the difficulties of staging Schubert's stark work.
From the Back Cover
This unique and innovative performance of Winterreise
has been shot entirely in studio, the sound recorded "live" to capture the emotional intensity of the performance. It brings together the distinguished young tenor Ian Bostridge and his celebrated accompanist Julius Drake, with opera director David Alden and designer Ian MacNeil. Schubert's masterpiece presents a stranger who lacks definition or social bond wandering through wintry nature. Alden dramatises the song cycle around two spaces: one a vacant and romantic room which perhaps houses the ghosts of the past; the other a white void, a landscape of isolation. Actors appear as the family who jilted the singer and who have perhaps set the protagonist on his life of endless wandering. Terrifyingly beautiful, Winterreise
is an agonising portrayal of a man who wants to be dead - a nervous breakdown, a story without end.
Over The Top With Franz
This accompanying documentary is an exciting and revealing record of the anxieties, frustrations and triumphs experienced by collaborators, Bostridge, Drake, Alden and MacNeil, in recording Schubert's Winterreise for television. The film opens with Bostridge and Drake performing Winterreise in recital at the Royal Brighton Pavilion. Nothing, however, can prepare them for the experience they have with David Alden. This film is a record of that experience. We follow the ideas, lines of approach and often conflicting opinions of the artists as they rehearse and prepare for this dynamic new film version from the first day of rehearsal to the last day of filming.