Presto Classical lists over 100 recordings of Schubert’s Winterreise for (almost) every voice type accompanied on pianoforte, fortepiano, string quartet and probably more. It’s also frequently performed live and I’ve certainly seen it done multiple times in settings ranging from the most formal of Liederabend to staged with projections and all manner of things. So why bother with another new recording? Well it’s largely because I’m a fan of English baritone Roderick Williams who has just had a Winterreise recording, with Iain Burnside at the piano, released on the Chandos label.
Readers familiar with Williams’ recordings of English song will be unsurprised by his interpretation. It’s straightforward and clean. The diction is excellent and the singing beautiful. It’s not the most dramatic version you will ever hear. Williams can be dramatic and can darken his voice but he does so very sparingly. The result feels quite “light” but not in an inappropriately carefree way. Burnside’s accompaniment is apt.
The recording was made in Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk and sounds clear and balanced. That’s based on listening to a pre-release (the street date is 5th February) 44.1kHz 16 bit download but the actual CD is a Chandos 96kHz 24 bit recording which one might expect to have a little more immediacy and bloom. Full texts and so on are included.