Benjamin Appl’s Winter Season to Be Dominated by ‘Winterreise’

By David Salazar
(Credit: Lars Borges)

Famed baritone Benjamin Appl is set to have a rather unique set of performances and releases centering on Schubert’s iconic “Winterreise.”

The baritone will be at the center of a new film version of the work by John Bridcut which will be presented on BBC TV this December. Then, on Feb. 11, 2022, Alpha Classics will release a recording of Appl performing the piece alongside pianist James Baillieu in his album “Winterreise.” Finally, Appl will perform the piece at Wigmore Hall on Feb. 18, 2022. He will be joined by Bailleu for that work as well.

“Every time I perform it, Winterreise feels like a new and different journey, depending on my own mood, the atmosphere in the hall, and of course the shared creativity with the all-important pianist,” Appl said in an official press statement. “This journey will be lifelong, as no singer ever gets tired of it, or feels he or she has mastered it. Fischer-Dieskau’s 10 recordings are proof of that. For singers, Schubert’s wanderer is a lifetime companion, yet a daunting one as we confront all the great recordings and performances that are already out there. The challenge for every singer is not to be inhibited, but to find fresh ways of understanding and transmitting both words and music to their own generation. Somehow, in Winterreise, Schubert has made space for that potential. As Benjamin Britten said: ‘Every time I come back to it, I am amazed not only by the extraordinary mastery of it, but by the renewal of the magic. Each time, the mystery remains.’

Appl’s first experience with the piece was when he was called to perform the piece on short notice; he had not been familiar with the work prior to that engagement.