Benjamin Appl – Baritone

Benjamin Appl © Uwe Arens

Benjamin Appl

Benjamin Appl
«Will dich im Traum nicht stören,
Wär schad’ um deine Ruh’.»

Franz Schubert




Benjamin Appl, baryton
Graham Johnson, pianist

Franz Schubert
Winterreise, op. 89
Texts Wilhelm Müller

Thursday 14 November 2019 8PM
Duration: 1h20 without intermission

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If you’re only 25 years old and you find out you’ve got a venereal disease that’s going to gnaw away at you until you die, you might well say that “life has lost its rosiness and winter is upon me”. Those were Franz Schubert’s very words in 1822 to his friend Mayrhofer, as he began composing The Winter Journey, a work which occupied him until 1828, as he was still correcting its proofs on his death-bed. This testament of the winter of a life was written for tenor voice, but very quickly transposed by Schubert himself into a version for low voice. The talented young German baritone Benjamin Appl, appearing for the first time in Geneva, and British pianist Graham Johnson, come to the Grand Théâtre recital stage bearing this immense work of art, where Schubert gives the keyboard an role equal to that of the singer, with the piano’s rhythms constantly expressing the moods of the poet, the voice of the elements and the animals, and the grinding drone of the hurdy-gurdy, gnawing away to the end. Like his mentor Fischer-Dieskau, of whom he was one of the last voice students, Benjamin Appl, in addition to his numerous brilliant performances on the opera stage, has the art song recital as his calling-card to all the great concert halls of Europe. Already signed up as an exclusive recording artist for Sony Classical, Benjamin Appl is also a permanent guest at the prestigious yearly Schubertiade of Hohenems. At only 36 years of age, he has the exacting attention to text of an actor, the charisma of a seasoned storyteller and an agile voice whose undeniable potential for greatness is universally recognised. As for Graham Johnson, already the designated accompanist for Britten and Pears’masterclasses in the 1970s, one couldn’t imagine a better companion for the journey to the hushed conclusion of this sublime and terrifying song cycle.


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