Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Peter Pears, Benjamin Britten
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
SCHUBERT:WINTERREISSE/BRITTEN FOLKSON - DVD Movie
And you thought the 1963 recording was dark...
Thomas B. Dawkins | Boston, MA | 09/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Britten and Pears recorded Winterreise for Decca in 1963, a landmark recording and an excellent one that I have reviewed myself and consider a "desert island disc" if you will. When I saw that this 1970 performance had been released on DVD, I had a few doubts. An aging Pears negotiating a very long cycle, and it's... staged? Cast these doubts aside, Pears was still four years away from Gustav von Aschenbach and is more than capable of delivering a performance that is not only colder and more bitter than the audio account seven years earlier, but the staging is simply putting Pears in a traveling cloak and placing him on a stage with some rather interesting backdrops and lighting. Britten is at the piano but not visible.
The humanism of the earlier recording is exceeded here. Pears does not come across quite as easily as a jilted young lover, but his experience with alienation has increased with the intervening years. His face is expressive, not distracting, and the visuals, while untraditional, add a special dimension to the experience. The only thing that I could definitely do without is the interruption of narration in English between songs as it tends to break up the flow of the piece, but this is a minor complaint. It would be nice if it were able to be turned off like subtitles.
The included bonus of a folk song recital is absolutely charming, with some excellent performances as well as a casual approach to this repertoire. A few dozen colleagues and friends are gathered in a BBC studio and being filmed for posterity. Little moments like Pears' flubbing of a word and a raised eyebrow from Britten are captured in a way they haven't been before.
That both these treasures are available to the public now is a great addition to the Britten/Pears heritage, as well as the general music world."