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Schubert: Winterreise [Gerald Finley, Julius Drake] [Hyperion: CDA68034]

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Composer: Franz Schubert
  • Audio CD (3 Mar. 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B00HPZZOOU
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 84,855 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Winterreise D911 | Gute Nacht [5'50]
  2. Winterreise D911 | Die Wetterfahne [1'54]
  3. Winterreise D911 | Gefrorne Tränen [2'40]
  4. Winterreise D911 | Erstarrung [3'04]
  5. Winterreise D911 | Der Lindenbaum [5'22]
  6. Winterreise D911 | Wasserflut [3'42]
  7. Winterreise D911 | Auf dem Flusse [3'50]
  8. Winterreise D911 | Rückblick [2'14]
  9. Winterreise D911 | Irrlicht [2'26]
  10. Winterreise D911 | Rast [3'31]
  11. Winterreise D911 | Frühlingstraum [4'32]
  12. Winterreise D911 | Einsamkeit [2'52]
  13. Winterreise D911 | Die Post [2'17]
  14. Winterreise D911 | Der greise Kopf [3'06]
  15. Winterreise D911 | Die Krähe [2'05]
  16. Winterreise D911 | Letzte Hoffnung [2'22]
  17. Winterreise D911 | Im Dorfe [3'34]
  18. Winterreise D911 | Der stürmische Morgen [0'53]
  19. Winterreise D911 | Täuschung [1'16]
  20. Winterreise D911 | Der Wegweiser [4'24]
  21. Winterreise D911 | Das Wirtshaus [4'24]
  22. Winterreise D911 | Mut! [1'28]
  23. Winterreise D911 | Die Nebensonnen [3'03]
  24. Winterreise D911 | Der Leiermann [3'44]

Product description

Product Description

The Gramophone-award winning partnership of Gerald Finley and Julius Drake turns to perhaps the most celebrated song-cycle of them all. Schubert's Winterreise is a masterpiece of despair, astonishing in its bleakness and enthrallingly mesmerising as the journey continues. Finley brings all his considerable dramatic powers to his performanceand all but submerges them under the ice.

Richard Wigmore writes that 'before Winterreise Schubert had composed individual songs of pathos and despair, even of apocalyptic terror. What was new about the cycle was the spareness and angularity of much of the writing, the work's sustained godless pessimism and its obsessive exploration of a mind veering between delusion, ironic self-awareness and nihilistic despair. The water music, limpid, turbulent or benedictory, of Schubert's earlier Müller cycle, Die schöne Müllerin, yields in Winterreise to musical emblems of trudging and stumbling, bareness and exhaustion, derangement and frozen, trancelike stillness'.

Review

The merits of Finley's singing are well known. The Beauty of the voice is as good place to start, and even referring to such matters as intonation and line seems impertinent when dealing with singing such as this. The composer has sought to illuminate the words, but Finley supports him with skill and tact. Quite Marvellous reading. --IRR, Mar'14

Finley can exercise his lyrical powers in such songs as Der Lindenbaum , Die Krahe , Letzte Hoffnung or Tauschung but it is not lyrical talent alone; more to the point, it is the spectrum of tonal colouring, inflection and instinctive phrasing which lend this performance of Winterreise such an absorbing sense of inner communion with the soul. GRAMOPHONE EDITORS CHOICE --Gramophone, Apr'14

This, to my mind the greatest of all bleak works of art, here receives its perfect rendering. Performance ***** Recording ****** --BBC Music Magazine, May'14

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I am a huge admirer of Gerald Finley and recognise his versatility in everything from Wagner to the Baroque. The voice is intrinsically beautiful and produced with extraordinary evenness and steadiness, with no grinding gear changes or over-emphases.

However, it is that very concern for legato and the restraint of his expression which for me constitute an element of blandness in this recording. For some, the more overt and quasi-operatic manner of Kaufmann or Florian Boesch - both of whose recent "Winterreise" releases I have just very enthusiastically reviewed - provides more variety and interest than Finley's restrained manner.

Not that his delivery of the text is in any way inexpressive; his German is superb and his nuancing of dynamics often very moving - but he is reluctant to provide the listener with anything so vulgar as a full voice, preferring to adopt a smaller-scale interpretative stance. All of this is very much a question of taste; he is ably partnered by an experienced accompanist who is sometimes rather more animated than his singer. Nonetheless, I can well understand how some might prefer Finley and have no quarrel with that, especially given the beauty of his mezza voce, complemented by secure, resonant low notes, a lightly flecked upper range and perfect intonation. Personally, I derive more pleasure from the greater exuberance of baritones such as Boesch, Allen and Hynninen. Admirers of Finley - of which there must and should be legion - will not be disappointed, however.

[This review also posted on the MusicWeb International website]
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Format: Audio CD
Having listened closely to the recent Jonas Kaufmann recording of Winterreise and found myself transported in places, unconvinced in others, I was fascinated to compare it with this. For all Kaufmann's blistering intensity and extraordinary vocal power, Finley offers us a reading of the work to which I feel I will return more readily. There are, quite simply, fewer rough edges here, fewer moments where I find myself noticing the voice intruding through the song, as occasionally happens with Kaufmann (such as his unfortunate scoop up to 'mit manchem Blumenstrauss' in the first song.

Here is a fabulous reading of the work where the work is, I think, allowed to stand more for itself. I will come back to Kaufmann to hear how he sings Winterreise, than to hear Winterreise. I will keep coming back to this disc to hear Winterreise. Add to that the beauty and intensity of Finley's singing, Julius Drake's wonderful playing, and the sheer quality of the recording, which is first rate, and you've a winner.
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Format: Audio CD
This winter, as ever, we have been treated to yet more accounts of Schubert's Beckettian song-cycle Winterreise. And I have no doubt that, in terms of sheer popularity, Jonas Kaufmann's new recording on Sony – how much did the technology multinational pay to lure him over from Decca? – will be the most popular. And with all the glories of Kaufmann's voice on offer, if in slightly shorter supply than on his recording of Die schöne Müllerin, you can hear why. But it's up against some serious musical and psychological competition with Gerald Finley's performance on Hyperion. And in my humble opinion, it's this latter disc that proves the real deal.

Kaufmann is an opera singer. He fills spaces as vast as the Met with roles such as Lohengrin and Parsifal and, no doubt, Siegfried and Otello will follow. He's also proved a remarkable performer of Lieder, not least in his Harmonia Mundi disc of Strauss songs with pianist Helmut Deutsch, who has been Kaufmann's steadfast accompanist for a while. It's eight years, however, since that Strauss disc first appeared and what succeeds in those proto-dramatic Lieder, prefiguring the composer's burst into operatic glory, doesn't translate to Schubert's equally potent but perhaps more muted works.

I noted when Kaufmann performed Die schöne Müllerin at Wigmore Hall in November 2010 that his was a strapping interpretation of the piece, a quality that had certainly translated from his 2009 disc. The same issue creeps into this Winterreise. While force and anger are certainly part of the journey, they should not become the be-all and end-all. And yet Kaufmann's diction, the focus of the low and mid voice and the sheer muscularity of his performance are winning qualities in themselves.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Introspective and masterly.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finley Knows the Dark Night of the Soul 7 Dec. 2015
By furibonda iena - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
So much beauty to absorb! There have been so many excellent recent performances on CD of Die Winterreise that we are overwhelmed. Let me make one claim for Gerald Finley: he has the most beautiful singing line of them all. His voice is filled with light and his buoyant renderings of the more lyrical songs linger in my spirit. He is one of the most charming of singers, a twinkle always near. But this cycle calls for a more profound, even morbid timbre to convey Schubert's ever-amazing score, which Finley provides. His complex, rich voice is profound in its own right. Julius Drake and he create a flowing journey, filled with detail. Drake is articulate and virtuoso in his accompaniments. This recording will become a friend. I remember Finley in Doctor Atomic, singing John Adams's "Batter my heart..." based on Donne. He filled the San Francisco Opera House with his pure, concentrated tones. He knows the dark night of the soul.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect blend of 19th century genius and 21st century artistry. 29 April 2016
By Frances Vandervoort - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Gerald Finley is a superb musician and sensitive, while commanding interpreter of this great work.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I heard them perform this last season in Portland, ... 7 Sept. 2014
By Linda Rickert - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I heard them perform this last season in Portland, so the CD is a reminder of a riveting, emotionally exhausting evening.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful, more restrained account 24 Mar. 2014
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I am a huge admirer of Gerald Finley and recognise his versatility in everything from Wagner to the Baroque. The voice is intrinsically beautiful and produced with extraordinary evenness and steadiness, with no grinding gear changes or over-emphases.

However, it is that very concern for legato and the restraint of his expression which for me constitute an element of blandness in this recording. For some, the more overt and quasi-operatic manner of Kaufmann or Florian Boesch - both of whose recent "Winterreise" releases I have just very enthusiastically reviewed - provides more variety and interest than Finley's restrained manner.

Not that his delivery of the text is in any way inexpressive; his German is superb and his nuancing of dynamics often very moving - but he is reluctant to provide the listener with anything so vulgar as a full voice, preferring to adopt a smaller-scale interpretative stance. All of this is very much a question of taste; he is ably partnered by an experienced accompanist who is sometimes rather more animated than his singer. Nonetheless, I can well understand how some might prefer Finley and have no quarrel with that, especially given the beauty of his mezza voce, complemented by secure, resonant low notes, a lightly flecked upper range and perfect intonation. Personally, I derive more pleasure from the greater exuberance of baritones such as Boesch, Allen and Hynninen. Admirers of Finley - of which there must and should be legion - will not be disappointed, however.

[This review also posted on the MusicWeb International website]
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Schubert from Finley and Drake. 15 July 2014
By Bruce A. Mcdonald - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Gerald Finley is always an intelligent singer, and this WINTERREISE is no exception. Also, Julius Drake does an outstanding job with the piano part; this is truly a 2-performer recital, and they make the lyrics come alive. Highly recommended.
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