I find this cycle of Schubert songs among the best music I've ever heard, whether as a whole or individually they are beautiful songs that tell a story and have so much meaning. This film version of Die Winterreise was interesting, but I do think Petr Weigl has done better with Eugene Onegin, A Village Romeo and Juliet and Turn of the Screw. If you want a truly ideal version of Winterreise, look for a recital or a recording like the one with Fischer-Dieskau and Brendel, and if you are looking for a filming of the actual Winterreise plot-line you will be disappointed also.
However, if you are willing to judge this on its own merits, you will enjoy it I think. The whole film is shot absolutely beautifully, and I cannot describe how gorgeous the locations and a lot of images are. True, there were a couple that I didn't see the significance of like Brigitte Fassbaender in the nun's habit(a message of caring for others perhaps?), but overall I was struck by the beauty of them and got the sense that Weigl was at least trying to convey the feelings of regeneration and hope if not always the true meaning of some of the songs.
As for the music, it is difficult to put into words how amazing it is. One may find a female voice unusual in alternative to a male. Of a cycle that tells a story from a I believe male perspective, I did initially find it strange. That said, what also matters is if the music is performed well. And it is. Fischer-Dieskau may be more searching, but Brigitte Fassbaender really does a superb job with the singing, her tone is typically firm and powerful, the musicality nuanced and the phrasing thoughtful. I found it particularly true in Der Lindenbaum. She is sensitively accompanied by the pianist, whose attention to musicality and phrasing(some of the best I've heard of any pianist doing this cycle actually) really shines here.
Overall, not ideal for all maybe but the beautiful visuals and music, plus how it is performed makes it an interesting watch. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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