Schubert: Winterreise

Tony Way
The Age 'Green Guide' (Australia)

Schubert’s wintry journey into despair and psychological oblivion calls for talent far beyond mere technical proficiency. Steve Davislim has the rare good fortune to be able to get to the heart of this music and reveal the raw emotions within. From the defiant departure of the singer in the opening song to his encounter, exhausted, with the haunting figure of the organ-grinder in the final song, Davislim never allows the dramatic energy of the work to ebb. The tender reveries along the way (Der Lindenbaum, Die Post) are lovingly evoked while the scenes that portend madness (Rast, Die Kraehe) are delivered with just the right amount of crazed passion. Throughout, Davislim’s variety of timbre impresses because it is through this vocal versatility that the work’s fine balance between hope and devastation is maintained. Romaniuk, aware of the important contribution the piano makes to this work, offers sensitive support. Davislim has also recorded a selection of Britten’s folksong arrangements for Melba with Simone Young at the piano. These bittersweet gems are superbly performed.