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Performance notes

Schubert's greatest song cycle has been revamped with theatre, dance and action. But nothing beats one man and a piano

By Martin Kettle   June 2009

Keenlyside’s fully choreographed Winterreise. Why?

Once encountered, Franz Schubert’s song cycle Winterreise haunts many listeners for the rest of their lives. This is certainly true in my case. Perhaps that’s because the first time I heard it I started at the top. My father took me to a performance by the great German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. I was hooked. I’ve heard it two or three dozen times since—and I suspect that Winterreise audiences are full of similar obsessives, permanently lured back by the cycle’s unique musical and poetic atmosphere.

Written near the end of Schubert’s brief life, Winterreise (Winter’s…

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