Franz Schubert: Winterreise
Varvaresos - Tiliakos
Winterrieise was originally written for a tenor voice, but Schubert’s collaboration in performing Die schöne Müllerin with the baritone Johann Michael Vogl in the 1820s is well documented, Schubert himself pragmatically transposing his songs where necessary. Vogl was a deeply cultured artist and considered Schubert’s songs ‘truly divine inspirations’, but Schubert’s friends were shocked when they first heard Winterreise. With its sublime beauty and themes of forlorn love and despair this song cycle clearly has universal human associations, but its bony sparseness make it by no means an ‘easy listen’, and its emotional extremes and melodramatic spheres also arguably derive from the preoccupations of a remote past.
Varvaresos - Inui
Comparing and contrasting two monumental violin sonatas by great composers from entirely separate generations can be a fascinating exercise, but in this case only yields incidental relationships. Richard Strauss’s Sonata in E-flat major Op. 18 can be considered a youthful work but, given the extra impetus of inspiration gained from new-found love in his future wife the singer Pauline de Ahna, this is also an uncompromisingly demanding piece which saw the composer at the top of his game at this point in his development.