Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bostridge and Uchida's Winterreise in London

Now that's a pairing I would love to see in recital sometime: Ian Bostridge and Mitsuko Uchida performing Schubert's Winterreise. From their recent Wigmore Hall appearance, Martin Kettle writes in the Guardian:
Bostridge's light, high tenor, and his punctilious German, were especially effective in the dreamier, more hallucinatory songs such as The Linden Tree and The Crow, and his account of the cycle became increasingly gripping. It reached a dark intensity in the solemn pairing of The Signpost and The Inn, and ended with a typically bleak rendering of The Organ-Grinder. Some may dislike Bostridge's habit of pacing around the platform in front of the piano, but this is a cycle that compels restlessness. Both the unusual timbre of Bostridge's tenor and the calculated physicality of his stage manner add to the sense of the protagonist as a person on the edge.

By contrast, Uchida's piano-playing became almost mannered in its restraint and introspection. But the control, the mastery of half-tones, and the profound seriousness of her playing of Schubert's chords, especially memorable in The Inn, was music-making of the highest order. As so often in performances as an accompanist, Uchida seemed to be silently singing every word. Not a conventional art-song Winterreise in any way, but an absolutely riveting evening all the same.
Here they are performing the first six songs from Die schöne Müllerin on Japanese TV:

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