Schubert's song cycle Winterreise is recognised as being one of his greatest works, darker and more complex than Die
schöne Müllerin. Wilhelm Müller's poetry, recounting the tale of a lovesick wanderer, has admittedly never been acclaimed as more than somewhat banal; moving, at best, but hardly reaching the literary heights of Goethe. However, it takes on new heights when matched with Schubert's music, elevated to a whole new art form. Indeed, it is notably more mature than Die schöne Müllerin; Schubert's predilection for through-composition rather than a strophic structure and his masterful use of majorminor colouring reveals his confidence in his writing, as he moves decisively away from older forms based on Beethoven and Mozart, foreshadowing the Wagnerian era. Schubert's last works before his tragically early death at the age of 31 - Lieder on poetry by Heine and Rellstab - were gathered together by his publisher with the addition of 'Die Taubenpost' to create Schwanengesang. The composer's 'Swan Song' is therefore not so much a coherent song cycle in the style of Winterreise, but still contains some of the composer's most original music, borne of Schubert's encounter with Heinrich Heine's poetry, which deals primarily with the theme of love's torment. This release also includes various other Lieder chosen from the 600 Schubert composed throughout his life. Inspired by his close friendships with poets of the day, Schubert set several songs to words by Johann Mayrhofer and Franz von Schober. Although similar themes of love and loss tend to appear frequently, Schubert manages to make one love song quite unlike another, exemplifying fully why he deserves his reputation as master of Lieder writing. This release brings together old recordings by stalwart Schubert interpreters Robert Holl and Ellen van Lier, accompanied by Konrad Richter, David Lutz and Naum Grubert (a "mature, thoughtful Schubertian", Gramophone).
Robert Holl is one of the foremost bass baritones of today. He has collaborated with the greatest conductors like Bernard Haitink, Eugen Jochum, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Claudio Abbado, and is equally active in opera as in Lieder. Particularly his Schubert interpretations "stand alone in it's musical truthfulness and depth of insight" (BBC Music Magazine about his Hyperion recording of Schwanengesang).
This set brings together Robert Holl's many Schubert recordings, including a moving account of Winterreise (with pianist Naum Grubert), Schwanengesang and a wide variety of songs, many of which are seldom recorded, like the substantial dramas "Der Tod Oscar", "Die Bürgschaft", "Ritter Toggenburg" and "Die Erwartung".
An impressive tribute to one of the greatest Schubert singers of today!