Padmore/Vignoles - Winterreise

FRANK CLIFF John Innes Centre, Norwich


> John Innes Centre, Norwich

The final - and greatest - of Schubert's song cycles, Winterreise, performed by tenor Mark Padmore and pianist Roger Vignoles, opened the Norfolk and Norwich Chamber Music's new season on Saturday.

Written at the end of Schubert's short life, the 24 songs tell of the winter journey of a young man, crossed in love, wandering through the bleak winter landscape towards his own destruction.

It contains the darkest, as well as the most expressive, of Schubert's music: music in which voice and piano are equal partners, and it is one of the most challenging works to perform.

Mark Padmore is one of the most exciting voices around, justly famous for his Bach performances, especially that of the Evangelist in the Passions, and it is rewarding to hear the same impeccable singing in his Schubert.

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Even so his interpretation seemed initially to lack a degree of spontaneity, and it was Vignoles' superb colouring in the Weather Vane and Frozen Tears which held one's attention until, after a somewhat wistful Linden Tree, Padmore found a greater dramatic presence which he sustained until the end.

If the voice sometimes lacked warmth in the lower register, Padmore nevertheless brought a vivid range of expression to the work, aided by the immaculate and always insightful playing of Vignoles.

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