A Yiddish Winterreise

Our rating 
2.0 out of 5 star rating 2.0

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Naxos
WORKS: A Holocaust Survivor’s Inner Journey told through Yiddish Song
PERFORMER: Mark Glanville (bass-baritone), Alexander Knapp (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 8.572256

Advertisement

 No, not a reinvention of Winterreise such as those created by Hans Zender and the Ensemble Moderne, or by Katie Mitchell and Mark Padmore: here Schubert’s cycle is evoked simply as inspiration for 23 generous and lovingly arranged Yiddish songs, shaping a Holocaust survivor’s inner journey.

Mark Glanville, a bass-baritone who often includes Yiddish and Hebrew songs within his classical recitals, here pays tribute to the centuries-old symbiosis of German and Jewish culture. There is even a central ‘Lindenbaum’, Yiddished, which I think Schubert might have rather liked.

Advertisement

It’s an irresistible idea, showcasing wonderful songs. But the performers could have dared so much more in their expression of both sorrow and joy. The inflection and patina of Glanville’s classically trained voice, and the somewhat timid piano playing of Alexander Knapp tend to enervate the energies and miss the impassioned élan and rich colours one may find in either cantorial singing or, say, performances by the Israeli folksinger Chava Alberstein in this kind of repertoire. Hilary Finch