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  • Scott Williamson

Winterreise postscript

Thanks to everyone who came out on a wintry day in central Virginia for my first Winterreise. It means so much to me that family and friends came from across Virginia for this milestone program.

And I hope to be bringing Winterreise to many more spaces in the future, so please stay tuned!

One of my friends asked what the motivation was behind the format of my program notes, which were posted recently here. I told her I intended the "24 Anecdotes" to resemble a prose poem, or a loosely unified set of non-fiction aphorisms. Whose numbers do not correspond to Schubert's 24 pieces in any literal or parallel sense. If my 10th note related directly to Schubert's 10th song that would be coincidence or serendipity.

Friedrich's Tree with Crows

What I should have said was that my atypical program notes were a nod to favorite modern writers like Anne Carson and Mary Ruefle. I had the pleasure of hearing Mary read her poem "Müller and Me" a few years ago. (You can read it here.) Do check out her work; she is an engaging and fascinating writer. I always feel revivified after reading one of her poems or essays.

... but how heavy is my happiness / that no sound on earth / can encompass it? she asks near the end of her Müller poem. What a beautiful and unexpected way to describe Schubert's music. No one else could paint bright major-key tonalities with rich-hued, gorgeous melancholy like the "little Mushroom," Franz Schubert.

Klimt's expressionist portrait of Schubert

P.S. On my drive to Amherst for Sunday's program, the LED signs warning about the "Winter Weather Advisory" reminded me such conveniences were barely in use a generation ago. This made me flash to the advent of modern technology in Müller's and Schubert's cycle, like the Post-horn (#13).

As I drove into the small town ("Die Stadt") I saw a crow (#15) atop a gravestone in the cemetery (#21) near the church where this debut would soon occur. What a perfect auguring for a memorable winter journey.

Stay tuned for more exciting career news, coming soon!

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