Review: Kirschschlager sings Die Winterreise at Temple Church

For those who don’t know, Angelika Kirschschlager is a big deal. Her interpretation of Schubert’s Die Winterreise last night at Temple Church in London was notable too for its staginess.

That approach isn’t necessarily to everyone’s tastes. It wasn’t to mine in places if I’m completely honest. The earnestness and intensity such an approach demands comes across as a little purple.

There were moments too when Kirschschlager’s musical schtick sometimes presented itself as being ever-so-slightly flat in places.

I feel the need to be balanced. My view wasn’t necessarily shared by those I was present at the recital with. It’s Kirschschlager’s style. And she is, even from the back-row of Block B of Temple Church, a towering presence with a captivating voice. To be able to recognise the enjoyment of others at the same time as acknowledging your own conflicting viewpoint is one of the real pleasures of concert-going. 

Something else really made this an important listening experience. Kirschschlager’s distinctive presentation prompted vigorous post-recital discussion in a nearby pub between amongst me Adrian_SpecsCrossEyedPiano, and pianist Jelena Marakova.

Never before has a performance led to a spirited, respectful and absorbing conversation. Something that deepened my understanding about a work and a performer.

Nice work Kirschschlager (and Julius Drake).