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Winter Journey

For this recording of Winterreise, Op. 89 (D.911), pianist Brian Chapman has prepared a new English translation, and as accompanist, with baritone Nathan Lay, recorded the entire song cycle in both English and German on two CDs. The set is presented with a lavish 56 book presentation featuring 24 paintings created by artist Lucy Chapman especially for this release.

Franz Schubert’s Winter Journey is widely regarded as the greatest of all song cycles for solo voice with piano, being claimed by some to be Schubert’s greatest work. The cycle takes around 70 minutes to perform and comprises settings of twenty-four poems by Wilhelm Müller (1794-1827) that deal with unrequited love, alienation, atheism and the contemplation of suicide.

Although Winterreise is numbered among Schubert’s final master-pieces, it remains a youthful work in every sense: Müller wrote the poems in his late twenties, Schubert set about composing the music having just turned 30, and the poems’ protagonist is a recently jilted youth. This gives the lie to any suggestion that Winterreise can only be performed by vocalists who have lived long enough to have suffered several decades’ worth of the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune – a suggestion which gives very little credit to the power of human intelligence and imagination!

Originally written for tenor voice, Winterreise has, since the twentieth century, become at least the equal province of the baritone, for whom, as in the present recording, all the songs are rendered in keys generally lower than those of the original tenor version. For this recording, pianist Brian Chapman has prepared a new English singable translation with the aim of fostering a wider audience for Schubert’s masterpiece beyond those who already love the original German version, while his wife, painter Lucy Chapman, has prepared 24 images inspired by the respective poems, following the example of a number of visual artists such as the German soprano-painter Lotte Lehmann (ca. 1940) and the Icelandic photographer Helga Kvam (ca. 2005).

Brian Chapman discusses his English translation of Winterreise: "Translation into English of the rhyming poetry of Winterreise is fraught with difficulties, beginning with the common German idiom of verbal compression – the conflation of multiple concepts into a single compound word. Another difficulty derives from the fact that one is setting new words to old music and, as far as possible, the music has to remain unaltered; in the event, there are a few instances where compromise has had to be admitted, but no more significant than that already present in Schubert’s score where, in successive verses of a strophic song, the text might be articulated across the same melodic phrase with different numbers of syllables. Alignment of stressed syllables with the music’s rhythm has often necessitated a considerable degree of poetic licence in the ordering of words within sentences and phrases. Should this alignment be viewed as compromised in some instances, it should be noted that Schubert did not shrink from using a discordant, wailing three-note phrase in bar 12 of No.6 (Wasserflut – Flood Water) to express the word “Weh” (woe) in the first verse and then using the same anguished phrase to express the preposition “auf” (in) in the second verse. The remaining major requirements have been that the general sense and specific imagery of Müller’s poems should be faithfully mirrored, while his original rhyming patterns should be matched exactly. In publishing this new translation it is a pleasure for me to acknowledge the commitment and support of Nathan Lay whose helpful observations and suggestions have resulted in substantial improvements to my initial draft. I hope that this new translation might help to widen the audience for this wonderful masterpiece."


Nathan Lay

Nathan Lay completed his Bachelor of Music at the Melba Conservatorium of Music in 2008, and has since established a career in the Melbourne opera, oratorio, and concert scene. He has won the National Liederfest, Australian Music Events’ Opera Scholar of the Year, the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Aria, and placed 3rd in the Herald Sun Aria.

Brian Chapman

Born in England in 1944, Brian Chapman studied piano in Brisbane with Nora Baird from 1952, and in Melbourne from 1954 with Lindsay Biggins, J.A. Steele and Roy Shepherd. After obtaining his AMusA performing diploma in 1958, he discontinued piano lessons the following year for five years, returning to study with Roy Shepherd in 1964.

Press quote

“This is a lavishly presented double account of surely the finest song cycle ever written ... Australian baritone Nathan Lay has a rich, full voice: expressive and with impeccable control, and his ardently youthful performances are highly pleasing ... successful translations ... each song is illustrated by Chapman’s artist wife Lucy ... a highly worthwhile project.”

— Barney Zwartz, Sydney Morning Herald

Audio previews

Track Listing

    Winter Journey, Op.89 (D. 911) Franz Schubert

  1. Good Night
  2. The Weather Vane
  3. Frozen Tears
  4. Numbness
  5. The Linden Tree
  6. Flood Water
  7. On the River
  8. A Look Backward
  9. Will o' the Wisp
  10. Rest
  11. Dream of Spring
  12. Solitude
  13. The Post
  14. The Old Man
  15. The Crow
  16. Last Hope
  17. In the Village
  18. The Stormy Morning
  19. Illusion
  20. The Sign Post
  21. The Inn
  22. Courage
  23. The False Suns
  24. The Hurdy-Gurdy Man
  25. The Hurdy-Gurdy Man (alternative ending)

Disc 2

    Winterreise, Op.89 (D. 911) Franz Schubert

  1. Gute Nacht
  2. Die Wetterfahne
  3. Gefror'ne Tränen
  4. Erstarrung
  5. Der Lindenbaum
  6. Wasserflut
  7. Auf dem Fluße
  8. Rückblick
  9. Irrlicht
  10. Rast
  11. Frühlingstraum
  12. Einsamkeit
  13. Die Post
  14. Der greise Kopf
  15. Die Krähe
  16. Letzte Hoffnung
  17. Im Dorfe
  18. Der stürmische Morgen
  19. Täuschung
  20. Der Wegweiser
  21. Das Wirtshaus
  22. Mut
  23. Die Nebensonnen
  24. Der Leiermann



Franz Schubert

Franz Peter Schubert was an Austrian composer. Today, Schubert is admired as one of the leading exponents of the early Romantic era in music and he remains one of the most frequently performed composers.

Where to buy

Winter Journey can be purchased online through Buywell Music or the Australian Music Centre which both offer secure online ordering.

This title can be ordered through fine music retailers across Australia including Readings and Fish Fine Music.

Product details

List price
$45.00 AUD
Release date
June 2019
© 2019 Brian Chapman
℗ 2019 Move Records
Catalogue number
MCD 594
Alternate catalogue number
EAN 9314574059427