Roderick Williams and Iain Burnside complete their survey of Schubert’s song cycles with this recording of Winterreise. Composed in the late 1820s, towards the end of Schubert’s tragically short life, Winterreise (Winter Journey) is a setting of twenty-four poems by Wilhelm Müller and describes a traveller leaving the town which was the home of the object of his unrequited love, to embark on a long journey, through a chill, wintry landscape, which ends in near-suicidal despair. This recording represents the culmination of a project that started back in 2015, when Williams accepted the challenge to prepare and perform all three song cycles in one season at the Wigmore Hall in London. Turning this challenge into a shared learning experience, Williams lead workshops and study days as well as numerous performances in a variety of venues. His blog covers the entire project and is a fascinating document well-worth reading. As in the case of the previous installments (Schwanengesang and Die schone Müllerin), also recorded at Potton Hall, Suffolk, Roderick Williams is accompanied by Iain Burnside, who plays a Steinway Model D.
The great baritone Roderick Williams recorded Schubert's Die Winterreise, D. 911, once before, in English, but this 2021 version, coming as the capstone to a set of Schubert song cycles, marks a major statement in his career, appearing in the singer's mid-50s. Williams lets Schubert's music and Wilhelm Müller's texts speak for themselves, with telling effect. There is absolutely no question that Williams and accompanist Iain Burnside, to whom a lot of the detail falls, have accomplished a distinctive Winterreise that stands out from the dozens or hundreds of others on the marketplace. The Chandos label's engineering at Potton Hall, always superb, here reaches the level of ideal.
– AllMusicGuide.com (James Manheim)