Editor: Marc Bridle


Webmaster: Len Mullenger





WWW MusicWeb

Search Music Web with FreeFind

Any Review or Article




Seen and Heard International Recital Review


Franz Schubert: Winterreise, Ian Bostridge (tenor), Leif Ove Andsnes (piano), Carnegie Hall, New York, 16th October, 2004 (BJ)


Carnegie Hall has developed a fascinating line in artist residencies over the past few seasons. A chosen performer appears several times in the course of the year, in varying contexts–as soloist with orchestra, in chamber music, in recital, or "curating" a program featuring his or her own selected colleagues. This season one such series is spotlighting the gifted young Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, and among the plans announced for him, a Winterreise with Ian Bostridge has loomed large and promising in my anticipation for the last several months.


Such joint appearances by star performers can fall short of expectations, but this time the reverse was true. These two musicians have forged a strong working relationship in the course of both recital collaborations and recordings: their series of Schubert song-and-sonata discs for EMI has produced performances to treasure, and indeed the latest release in that series was of the song-cycle we heard in Carnegie Hall on this occasion.


Rarely can there have been a Winterreise in which singer and pianist were so superbly well matched, each as outstanding in his field as the other, and both, as this performance revealed, fearless in their willingness to take every risk in the interests of musical truth and dramatic power. As his recent recordings have shown, Bostridge’s voice has been developing steadily in the direction of ever greater richness and strength, moving away from a tone recalling the fine line of a Fritz Wunderlich to a sound more reminiscent of, say, Richard Tauber. Certainly his vocal resources were more than equal to the challenge of filling Carnegie Hall’s large Isaac Stern Auditorium (as the main hall is now called in memory of the man who saved it from the wrecker’s ball). This was an unusually forceful reading of the cycle, portraying not the somewhat enfeebled, hag-ridden sufferer we sometimes encounter, but a young man still full of passion and protest. Rather in the way Bostridge made Peter Quint, in the Virgin Classics recording of Britten’s Turn of the Screw, all the more frightening a ghost because he sounded so real, so the incipient madness of Wilhelm Müller’s and Schubert’s protagonist was the more convincing because he clearly believed himself to be perfectly sane.


It is this kind of profundity in interpretation that Bostridge commands more fully than perhaps any other singer now before the public, and it was reinforced at every step of the wintry way by the sheer power and boldness–wildness even–of Andsnes’s playing, which dared everything and emerged triumphant. Interestingly, by the way, Bostridge made the fairly big crescendo on the concluding word of the last song that used to be traditional; he avoids it in the recording. There is, it is evident, nothing predictable or routine about anything these two great musicians do together. Despite–or because of–being schooled and prepared to the utmost, they are free to respond to the inspiration and the atmosphere of the moment. And an unusually attentive audience rewarded them with the kind of vociferous standing ovation heard more often in countries like the Czech Republic than in the staid United States.


Bernard Jacobson

Back to the Top     Back to the Index Page






MusicWeb - The International Web Site Founder: Len Mullenger [UK], Classical Editor: Rob Barnett [UK],  Regular Reviewers:   Steve Arloff [UK], Guy Aron [Australia], Tony Augarde [UK], Terry Barfoot [UK], Melinda Bargreen [USA], David J. Barker [Australia], Rob Barnett [UK], Nick Barnard [UK], Robert Beattie [UK], Dave Billinge [UK], Peter Bright [UK], Byzantion [UK], Colin Clarke [UK], Dominy Clements [Netherlands], Michael Cookson [UK], Hubert Culot [Belgium], Evan Dickerson [UK], Gavin Dixon [UK], Robert J. Farr [UK], Christopher Fifield [UK], Göran Forsling [Sweden], John France [UK], Patrick Gary [USA], Pierre Giroux [CAN], Paul C. Godfrey [UK], Michael Greenhalgh [UK], William Hedley [France], Gary Higginson [UK], Neil Horner [UK], Robert Hugill UK], David Jennings [UK], Bill Kenny [UK], William S Kreindler [USA], Ian Lace [UK], Em Marshall-Luck [UK], Oleg Ledeniov [USA]Rob Maynard [UK], David A McConnell [USA], Kirk McElhearn [France], Robert McKechnie [UK], Ralph Moore [RMo] [UK], Dan Morgan [UK], Margarida Mota-Bull [UK], Glyn Pursglove [UK], John Quinn [UK], Carla Rees [UK], Brian Reinhart [USA], Donald Satz [USA], Mark Sealey [USA], John Sheppard [UK], George Stacy, Kevin Sutton [USA], Bert Thompson [USA], Simon Thompson [UK], Zane Turner [Australia], Steve Vasta [UK], Johan van Veen [Netherlands], Raymond Walker [UK], Derek Warby [UK], Brian Wilson [UK], Jonathan Woolf [UK] Leslie Wright [USA]. A complete list of contributors can be seen here


Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

MusicWeb International thank Naxos for the no-strings use of their server to mount the website.