Cambridge Song Fetive February 2019 H600px
Robert Murray tenor

Winter Journey

Saturday Feb 16 2019, St John’s College Old Divinity School, 8.30pm

Internationally-renowned tenor Robert Murray and pianist Andrew West are joined by actor and poet Seán Street in this unique performance of Schubert’s Winterreise (Winter Journey). Blending song and spoken word, Schubert’s extraordinary settings of Wilhelm Müller’s poems are here brought together with extracts from Captain Scott’s Antarctic diaries, combining two winter journeys to create a dark, intense, and powerful shared drama of the human psyche.

A pre-concert talk will be given at 7.30pm by Dr Peter Clarkson MBE, Emeritus Associate of the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge. This is free to all ticket holders.

Franz Schubert, Winterreise D.911, with extracts from Captain Scott's Diaries

The Fatal Chance

On 17 January 1912, Captain Robert Falcon Scott reached the South Pole with Edward Wilson, Lawrence Oates, Henry Bowers, and Edgar Evans, only to find that a Norwegian party led by Roald Amundsen had reached the goal before them. They were then faced with an 800 mile return trip, on foot, to their base and safety. All five men died in the attempt, Oates and Evans first, the three remaining men struggling on to within 11 miles of their goal. The last entry in the journal was on Thursday, 29 March. A search party found the bodies of Scott, Bowers, and Wilson on 12 November, 1912.

Setting readings from Scott's journal, where he charted that desperate journey, Seán Street and Robert Murray have devised a performance of words and music in which Schubert's Winterreise (Winter Journey) - a setting of 24 poems by Wilhelm Müller, telling the story of a man walking in despair through a night of ice and snow - provide a poignant parallel to Scott's last diaries.Winterreise was published in 1828, the year of Schubert's own death.

The idea for blending the two stories came about when Seán and Robert met during rehearsals for Cecilia McDowall's Seventy Degrees Below Zero, commissioned by the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, and premiered in the Spring 2012 by the City of London Sinfonia with Robert singing Cecilia's settings of Seán's poems 'The Ice Tree' and 'We Measure,' and an extract from Scott's last letter to his wife. Both Robert and Seán felt there was a connection to be made between Schubert's settings of Müller's poignant poems and the last pages of Scott's Antarctic journal, blending these two winter journeys to make a dark, intense experience, moving through the bleakest night of the soul and in the process exploring the human spirit in extremis.

Tickets: £15, £5 students and under 35s (available on the door)

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