Fiona Maddocks 

Schubert: Wilkommen und Abschied – review

Werner Güra and Christoph Berner's Schubert song cycle is outstanding, writes Fiona Maddocks
  
  

Schubert wrote some 600 songs in his short life. The test for performers is how to select from the vast number outside the cycles – Die schöne Mullerin, Winterreise and Schwanengesang. The excellent duo of German tenor Werner Güra and Viennese fortepianist Christoph Berner have constructed their own thoughtful cycle based around the Goethe setting "Wilkommen und Abschied". The life, loves and losses of a fictional Romantic are portrayed, from youth ("Schlummerlied"), through adolescent rapture ("Ganymed") to death ("Nocturne"), making gentle but never coercive psychological sense. Berner, playing an 1872 Rönisch fortepiano, shows keen attention to every detail. Güra, outstanding in his unfussy, intense delivery, is a formidable, rousing guide.

 

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