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Bruce Surtees
The WholeNote, March 2009

Christa Ludwig has an excellent DVD containing Die Winterreise and part of a Mozart Master Class (Arthaus DVD 102147). Schubert’s song cycle which is set to the two cycles by Wilhelm Müller is an astonishing realisation of the human condition. Traditionally sung by a male voice, it is no less poignant from a female voice, particularly from an artiste of Ludwig’s calibre. She had them transposed to her natural vocal range so that “…it was my voice and not an artificial voice created just so you can sing something in the original version…I maintain that this is the winter’s journey of a soul and not that of a man or a woman.” Recorded in Athens in 1994, this is an exceptional, devoted performance reflecting a total empathy with the thoughts and implications of the texts.

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