Ian Bostridge's acclaimed study of Schubert's Winterreise - as heard on BBC Radio 4.
Franz Schubert's Winterreise is at the same time one of the most powerful and one of the most enigmatic masterpieces in Western culture. In his new book, Schubert's Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession, Ian Bostridge - one of the work's finest interpreters - focusses on the context, resonance and personal significance of a work which is possibly the greatest landmark in the history of Lieder. Drawing equally on his vast experience of performing this work (he has performed it more than a hundred times), on his musical knowledge and on his training as a scholar, Bostridge unpicks the enigmas and subtle meaning of each of the twenty-four songs to explore for us the world Schubert inhabited, bringing the work and its world alive for connoisseurs and new listeners alike. Originally intended to be sung to an intimate gathering, performances ofWinterreise now pack the greatest concert halls around the world.
Though not strictly a biography of Schubert, Schubert's Winter Journey succeeds in offering an unparalleled insight into the mind and work of the great composer.
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'The songs are discussed in a series of insightful and gracefully written chapters, each drawing on a vast range of learning in cultural and social history, musicology and psychoanalysis.' (Ivan Hewett Daily Telegraph)
'What emerges with compelling force is the author's intellectual curiosity and passion for his subject ... Schubert's Winter Journey provides a fascinating insight not just into the song cycle and the mindset of its composer but also that of a leading interpreter.' (Hannah Nepil Financial Times)
Ian Bostridge is a great guide to the mysterious winter-scape and supreme symbiosis of word and music ... exquisite and revealing. (Rebecca K Morrison Independent)
Bostridge encourages us to experience the work as though we were eavesdropping on a performer's own dilemmas ... Like the cycle itself, the study is a heady, circling journey of cross-reference, association and allusion. (Hilary Finch BBC Music Magazine *****)
'Bostridge's highly enjoyable book provides a rewarding, intelligently written companion to the piece for those who know it well, as well as for those who are approaching it for the first time ... this wide-ranging book is a fine tribute to his devotion to Schubert's masterpiece.' (Nick Rennison Sunday Times)
'This year will be Bostridge's thirtieth of performing Winterreise and Schubert's Winter Journey is a distillation of the tenor's absorption of the piece, both as performer and historian. Winterreise, Bostridge argues, is "a message in a bottle set afloat in the cultural ocean of 1828" and, with the confidence of a master oarsman, Bostridge sails these waters with awesome virtuosity.' (Neil Fisher The Times)
Bostridge brings the knowledge of an expert but none of their jargon to this unexpected book that treats each song in this inscrutable cycle as an object in a cabinet of curiosities - to be handled and enjoyed as well as theorised ... Bostridge covers a lot of ground, at speed, but the artlessness of his prose (conversational, without ever feeling contrived) carries the reader along with inquisitive, interrogative force. Rather than an account of discoveries made earlier, there's the sense that the book itself is an act and process of discovery, crystallising the thoughts, instinctive responses and research of decades into text. It wanders, like Schubert's hero, drifting and alighting in unexpected places. (Alexandra Coghlan Spectator)
'Usually great singers cannot explain what they do. Ian Bostridge can. Whether or not you know Schubert's 'Winter Journey', the book is gripping because it explains, in probing, simple words, how a doomed love is transformed into art.' (Richard Sennett)
'An impressive success: a long-gestated, intensely enjoyable study of Schubert's Winterreise .' (Rupert Christiansen Literary Review)
A beautifully presented, delightful and deeply fascinating book. (Hugo Shirley Gramophone)
In Schubert's Winter Journey, Ian Bostridge brings to life Franz Schubert's song cycle Winterreise, one of the most powerful compositions in classical music.
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