The third event in the Musica Viva Concert Series presented by the Arts Institute and the University of Plymouth featured a performance of Schubert’s song-cycle ‘Winterreise’.
Poignant and mature
This epic set of twenty-four settings of poems by Wilhelm Müller was composed one year before the composer’s death, when his health was rapidly deteriorating, and is Schubert’s most poignant and mature vocal work.
This performance was an all-American affair, with Arts Institute Director of Music, pianist Robert Taub, joined by his former friend and colleague from the States, baritone Randall Scarlata – a name perhaps not on the tip of the tongue of Lieder aficionados this side of the pond, but a highly-respected and acclaimed singer in the States.
On the most literal level, ‘Winterreise’ tells of the flight of a man rejected in love from his village, and his never-ending wanderings through a winter landscape. But the title is also a metaphor, in which the restless Inner Self unremittingly seeks universal truth. The journey is motivated by an inner drive, where the landscapes are more mindscapes than reality.
The performance from both artists was immaculate, and the whole evening a tremendously moving, and thought-provoking experience.
You can read my full review of the present concert here at Seen and Heard International
Meanwhile, if, like me, you are now most keen to hear more of Randall, but haven’t got any stateside trips currently planned, then help is at hand.
In the concert programme, Bob Taub takes the opportunity to highlight some of what Plymouth audiences have to look forward to over the coming months.
Some Call it Home
Randall will be back in Plymouth next March to perform with British soprano Deborah York and members of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in ‘Some Call it Home’ – a multimedia music drama, and joint production with Theatre Royal, Plymouth.
Looking even further ahead, Bob mentions the upcoming ‘Beethoven250’ festival next October, where concerts and associated public events, all exploring Beethoven’s creative evolution, will provide the mainstay of a celebration of the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth.
Musica Viva Concert Series presentation of Winterreise
Randall Scarlata (baritone) and Robert Taub (piano)
Sherwell Centre, University of Plymouth
Philip R Buttall
Top image: Randall Scarlata (left) and Bob Taub (right)
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