na sklade / dostupné okamžite
Andreas Staier, Christoph Prégardien
Schubert: Winterreise D911
Christoph Prégardien (tenor), Andreas Staier (fortepiano)
Notwithstanding the great Peter Schreier's classic version, and notwithstanding the more 'illustrious' 21st century version of Werner Gura/Christoph Berner, this late 1990's recording of the Winterreise in its original tenor version by Pregardien (Sr) and Andreas Staier, also on fortepiano, would mostly likely be the referential and definitive version.
I seldom have the concentration to listen to a song cycle in one sitting before the hifi player. It took me two sittings to finish Gura's, and many more for others.
However, for this version, I finished listening to the 24 songs in a row, without ever jumping up or down.
Pregardien's singing is simply magnetic - he synthesizes the text and the music, utters them in deep emotional committment, while the music pours forth from his mouth like a continuous flow of stream. Singing never sounds so easy - Pregardien's 'technique', to be sure, is utterly unmatched in this genre.
Lieder are for everyone to sing, unlike opera arias, where the composers generally tailored the music for a particular singer. It is utter nonsense to confine lieder to 'big' voices or 'small' voices. The medium simply is wide open. What remains is how the singer conveys the text as well as the music together with the accompanist. And even for that matter, Pregardien's voice is full-bodied enough for Schubert's song cycle in every respect. The honey-hued timbre never sings just for singing's sake - its timbre varies, its tone modulates, its inflection changes, with every different demand of the music and the text.
Both Staier and Pregardien did a terrific job here. The fortepiano does not sound too old fashioned, with perhaps just a slightly tingy sound in the introduction of 'The Inn'. The sound combination and accoustics come better than in the other fortepiano collaboration between Berner and Gura.
While I totally admire Gura/Berner in their tenor version of Winterreise, after hearing this one, I must say Staier/Pregariden has a slight edge over the later one. The edge over that one comes mostly in the absolute balance of the parts and the utter finesse in the wrapping of the text and music. Pregardien is particularly praiseworthy for striking at the very heart of each piece with the exact dosage of emotional committment and poetic prouncement - never cold, never underplayed, yet never excessive, either, but just as the text demands. The flow of the music is so natural and mesmerising that no sooner than one third through the opening Good Night, the listener is drawn in as if hypnotized. This is lieder interpretation and performance of the highest order.