Winterreise Take 1, February 2016
Below are a few very brief thoughts on Winterreise and the invitation to the performance. Here is a link to the video of that performance, during my second year of studies at Bard. This is a link to my program notes and translations.
FEBRUARY 2016: I am writing today to invite you to my performance with Rami Sarieddine, pianist, of Schubert's Winterreise, on Saturday February 6 at 4 PM in the Conservatory Performance Space of the Bito Building at Bard College. Winterreise is a cycle of twenty-four songs to poetry by Wilhelm Müller composed by Schubert in 1827, near the end of his life.
Winterreise first captivated my attention as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan. I worked at the music library my freshman year on work study, and would listen to recordings of my favorite singers while re-shelving scores in the stacks. The bass-baritone Hans Hotter's 1955 recording of the work grabbed me - I didn't know of the work, barely knew Schubert, and may not even have had a clear idea of what a song cycle was, but the songs themselves, their beauty, savagery, and peculiarity pulled me in.
I think it best not to try too hard to articulate what it's about, but instead leave it in the broadest terms: with lost or abandoned love as a point of departure, Winterreise becomes an exquisite skeleton for the performers and audience to create and discover meaning in the space between the experiences of the composer, poet, performers, and witnesses.
Rami and I began work together on the cycle in the autumn of 2014, when we were first paired together by the Bard Graduate Vocal Arts Program. We are both fortunate to be in a setting that has encouraged our collaboration and has provided us the time, space, and mentorship to begin our journey with this piece. We are excited to share our work, and our love for Schubert, Müller, and Winterreise with you in our first public performance. It's been a rewarding process, and if geography and time make it possible, I hope you will join us.