Yesterday's concert in Cambridge with Ralph Woodward was my first Lieder recital here in the UK: I've always been very passionate about this repertoire and I was very happy to finally share my love for Schubert's music with the British audience. Schubert's Winterreise (Winter Journey) is one of the most demanding works to perform, 75 minutes of wonderful music, no intermission, a real journey into hell as we follow the protagonist in his wandering through the wintery landscape and his descent into despair and madness. No human beings on his path, just traces of them - an abandoned hut, a graveyard, the distant lights of a village and the sound of the dogs barking - and snow, ice, wild animals and the longing for death. Only at the end, our Wanderer will meet another human being, an old hurdy-gurdy player, alone in his misery, and for the first time he will be able to speak to someone other than himself: "Can I come with you? Would you play your instrument to my songs?". And so the story starts again, in an eternal reliving of his pain through his songs.
I feel very lucky and so grateful to have the opportunity to perform this masterpiece - and to do it with the wonderful Ralph Woodward!