Güra and Berner stun with Schubert

Werner Güra and Christoph Berner wander into the snowy waste and feel the chill of Schubert’s Die Winterreise

Composer: Schubert
Repertoire: Die Winterreise 
Artists: Werner Güra (ten), Christoph Berner (pf)
Rating:  4/5
Genre: Vocal/Instrumental
Label: Harmonia Mundi HMC 902066

German tenor Güra initially overdoes the growing bitter characterisation, whispering heavily in the opener. A lighter tone would have sufficed: there’s a long way to go. Better to let the inexorable trudge simply take its toll as it does in part two where the pressure-cooker intensity of his self-pity builds in relentless waves. I detect no separate takes. Explosion comes in the ironic Mut! as Güra scoffs at despair over Berner’s cynical keyboard fanfares. The ear is stunned and the organ-grinder finale is truly bleak.