Tenor Ian Bostridge and pianist Leif Ove Andsnes--two extraordinary young artists who've been performing and recording Schubert together since 2000--are in the middle of a world tour performing the haunting Winterreise. In this hour-long song cycle, a setting of 24 poems by Wilhelm Muller that was written near the end of the lives of both poet and composer, a recently scorned lover flees his beloved's home in the middle of winter, revealing his anguish as he describes the world he passes through. Everything reflects his despair--frozen tears, a single leaf that falls, a hurdy-gurdy player who's destined to play forever for no one--and shows Schubert's extraordinary ability to translate the emotional truth of a poem into music. The despair may be more pronounced in the text than in the music, but Schubert's subtlety fits the metaphorical nature of the poetry and allows the performers tremendous interpretive opportunities. Andsnes, who has a well-established solo career and was last here in a 2000 recital, has a talent for seeing the architectural scope of a work while finding unusual musical details to bring out. Bostridge has a beautiful lyric tenor voice, but his artistic and dramatic sensibilities are even more striking. He can quickly change the color of his tone and is capable of remarkable nuance, making him a particularly captivating storyteller. This may well be a landmark performance. Wednesday 20, 8 PM, Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114, $15-$36.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Simon Fowler.