EIF Review
Pat Napier
Schubert: Die Winterreise, Edinburgh, 16 August 2003
Winterreise: 16 August
Queen's Hall
16 August
Jonas Kaufmann
Helmut Deutsch

Dressed entirely in appropriate black, with the sunlight flooding into the Queen's Hall, Jonas Kauffmann settled into Winterreise in light mood suppported by the piano.

Then, in Gute Nacht's 5th verse - the turning point - both voice and piano set the developing, sombre, introspective tone by emphasising the traveller's inevitable expulsion, underscored by the barking of the village dogs.

Hemut Deutsch's piano accompaniment was very vivid in expressing tiny details such as the energetice barking of the village dogs, or the gusty, swirling wind swinging the Weather vane, which helped to illuminate the effect of the singer's tiny but critical pause before the last two lines of the Weather vane, where Kaufmann turns the mood around by asking "What do they care for my grief?"

At the critical point in each verse, Kaufmann's achingly beautiful lyrical verse turns to an increasingly darker descent into bitterer and bitterer loneliness paralled by meditations on the winter landscape. But Kaufmann's traveller is still a young man not yet ready to succumb and staving off death's sure grip until the very last moment. It was a deeply moving experience, ending in that always-magical, breath-held, long, long pause.


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