Schubert: Winterreise

Sarah Noble
Prima La Musica (Australia)

If you needed further proof that one needn't be a growly echt-Deutsch baritone to capture the peculiar melancholy of this song cycle, Steve Davislim is it. This is a gorgeously sung Winterreise, as bleak, wintry and beautiful as the photography (by Bill Henson, no less) which accompanies the liner notes. Davislim's voice is an ideal mix of light and shadow, the lyrical sheen of it underpinned with a dark, occasionally baritonal quality. His interpretations are fluid and evocative, intelligent but not over thought, and idiomatic in the extreme: Davislim has sung a lot in Germany, to great acclaim, and it shows. Each song is differentiated, given its own particular voice, and yet there's a happy continuity to the whole, just as there should be, and ultimately an almost hypnotic quality. Anthony Romaniuk (for whom accompanist is just not the word) makes an ideal partner; the two voices, singer and pianist, meeting as one. Schubert lieder is not exactly an uncrowded field in terms of recordings but this Winterreise deserves to be sought out by even those with two dozen recordings of it already in their collections.