Songs Evaluation: Gerald Finley and Julius Drake in the ‘Winterreise’ Cycle

February 16th, 2014

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Songs|Music Review From Tender to Blustery to Haunted

Winterreise The baritone Gerald Finley and the pianist Julius Drake carrying out Schubert’s song cycle at Zankel Corridor. Ruby Washington/The New York Times

The Canadian baritone Gerald Finley and the British pianist Julius Drake gave a recital at Zankel Corridor on Thursday that was the final end of a North American tour that includes Schubert’s “Winterreise.” The functionality virtually fell target to 21st-century winter season blues after a power failure plunged Zankel Corridor into darkness previously that day.

It was a different sort of darkness that settled on the auditorium as Mr. Finley and Mr. Drake shipped an intensely felt and richly shaded account of Schubert’s lovelorn and life-weary song cycle. Mr. Finley possesses a warm, glowing baritone with a generous reduced range and silken prime notes, as well as a knack for spinning out lengthy and sleek legato lines. But just as critical, he is an smart and dedicated actor, and it was his attention to the individual colour of Wilhelm M?ller’s phrases and the psychological nuances of Schubert’s setting of them that made his efficiency so compelling.

In the opening “Good Night time,” his voice modified in the last strains, the place he sings of not wanting to disturb his lover’s dream as he departs, in a way that expressed the two the tenderness and the sacrifice of the gesture. In “Flood,” his voice remained marvelously complete across the octave drops, which he turned into generous, scooping movements. This sort of moments of vocal entire-bloodedness turn into increasingly rare as the poet’s thoughts change obsessively to demise. In “Rest,” Mr. Finley constructed up shades of excessive pallor with some notes practically starved of all resonance. Descending fifty percent notes in the music grew to become metaphors for the wanderer’s exhaustion, rendered like a quick weakening of the knees. A number of occasions, this caving in of the voice resulted in a notice being smudged off key, as if to evoke the death of tunes itself.

Mr. Drake sent an exceptional functionality at the piano. By means of the around continuous manipulation of the pedals, he designed a vast palette of hues that ranged from the blustery introduction to “The Temperature Vane” to glassy droplets in “Frozen Tears” and Mozartean grace in “Dream of Spring.” He was also the driving force powering the performance’s superb pacing, contrasting hurrying passages with times of relaxation that typically took on an uncomfortable staring good quality.

In the ultimate, haunting “Organ Grinder,” Mr. Drake made a mystical audio beneath Mr. Finley’s preternaturally quiet strains, which he sang with a actual physical stillness so full that his breathing grew to become all but undetectable.

A edition of this overview appears in print on February fifteen, 2014, on website page C5 of the New York edition with the headline: From Tender To Blustery To Haunted.

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