Crawford Howie

Schubert the Dramatist: The Song Cycles

The Music of Winterreise

Abstract: In a special Schubert centenary edition of Music and Letters in 1928, Steuart Wilson wrote: "When Schubert is weighed in our balances and measured by our rules, whatever of him survives our taste moves us with an increasing power, because of its astonishing, unworldly simplicity."

Words which have an even greater resonance today in our increasingly complex and divided world. There is certainly much of this ‘astonishing, unworldly simplicity’ in Winterreise. The winter wanderer’s conflicting emotions as he leaves the scenes of past happiness and, in a typically Romantic fashion, finds a reflection of his alternately numbed and overwrought feelings in the cold winter landscape with its ice, snow and chilling winds, are depicted in music of wonderful aptness.

© Crawford Howie 2002

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