The song cycle "Die Winterreise" ("A Winter's Journey"), one of Franz Schubert's last works, is also one of his undisputed masterpieces. The work details the agony of a spurned lover, and in the 24 songs that make up the cycle, he goes through an emotional roller coaster ride that takes him from anguish to sadness, anger and, finally, resignation.
These powerful emotions are captured vividly in Schubert's intensely expressive music. And tenor Mark Mowry and pianist Kori Bond gave a memorable account of the cycle Thursday, to open Westminster College's 2008-09 concert series.
Mowry was a last-minute replacement for Geoffrey Friedley, who had to cancel due to illness. However, Mowry and Bond's perusal of the work belied the fact they had only a short time to rehearse together.
Bond is a wonderful pianist in her own right (at her last appearance at Westminster College, she gave a resoundingly forceful performance of Shostakovich's Preludes), and as an accompanist she is equally accomplished. Bond's playing allowed Mowry to carry the songs while supporting him with beautifully crafted phrases and dynamics.Mowry's tenor is lyrical and well-suited for these songs. He brought emotional urgency to his singing, and he threw himself into the songs wholeheartedly. He was somewhat understated in his delivery, though, yet his singing was wonderfully nuanced and infused with delicately phrased expressions. He and Bond captured the character of the music effortlessly, and they showed the audience convincingly what makes Schubert's songs so irresistible.