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Performers

Date & Time

Friday Fri, 3 Mar 2023

Location

Bangalore International Centre
7, 4th Main Road, Domlur II Stage
Bangalore, Karnataka 560071 India

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Winterreise D.911 Op. 89

“As a stranger I came, and as a stranger I depart.” So begins the journey of heartbreak, hallucination, struggle, hope, elation, resignation, and transcendence.

Franz Schubert composed his epic song cycle, Winterreise, “Winter Journey,” a setting of Wilhelm Müller’s narrative poetry, in two parts, each with 12 songs, in February and October of 1827. Winterreise is a memory piece, the internal monologue of a man who has returned to the town where he first fell in love, who, as he wanders presently in the cold of winter, his tears freezing as they fall on his cheeks, recalls a life of what might have been. True to the Romantic Era, each of the 24 songs in the cycle is its own  psychological treatise and reflection of the human experience in our natural world.

Winterreise is Schubert’s potent melodic distillation in which he transformed forever the nature of the relationship between singer and pianist into a collaborative partnership, giving equal importance to the pianistic expression of emotion and drama in the story. The piano tone-paints the wind in the trees, the vividly rushing water under the ice, the singing birds, baying dogs, the grating rusty weathervane, the post horn calling, the drone and repeated melody of the hurdy-gurdy. The poet internalizes all these phenomena and equates them with his own emotions in the telling.

Franz Schubert (1797–1828) was an Austrian Romantic composer and although he died at the age of 31, he was prolific, having written some 600 Lieder and nine symphonies, including the two great song cycles, Die Schöne Müllerin and Winterreise, the Eighth (‘Unfinished’) and Ninth (‘Great’) Symphonies, the Octet for Wind, the last three string quartets, the two piano trios, the String Quintet, the ‘Wanderer’ Fantasy, and the last six sonatas for solo piano.

The evening will begin with a dialogue around Winterreise and Franz Schubert, followed by the recital by Maria Forsström and Bengt Forsberg.

Image credit: The photograph of Maria Forsström and Bengt Forsberg on the poster and thumbnail is by Mats Bäcker.

 

With the support of the Swedish Arts Grants Committee, Furtados, and JSW.

     

Performers

Maria Forsström

Mezzo-Soprano

Maria Forsström is equally at ease on the opera stage, in the symphonic repertoire or at a Lieder recital. First having studied church music, piano and conducting at The Royal College of Music in Stockholm, at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, and at The Rimsky-Korsakov St. Petersburg State Conservatory – she then realized she wanted to be the instrument herself and started singing at the age of 33. She is much appreciated for her intelligent musicianship and great enjoyment of exploring different musical styles from early Baroque, the languid soundscapes of the late Romantics, to newly commissioned music.

Maria Forsström has performed, toured, and recorded with Teodor Currentzis and Musica Aeterna, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Perm Opera House, Michailovsky Opera, St. Petersburg, Novaya Opera, Moscow, Helsinki Opera House, Dortmund Konzerthaus, Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra, Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra, La Chambre Philharmonique, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Südwest-Deutsches Philharmonie, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Odense Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, and Malmö Symphony Orchestra, with conductors such as Christoph Eschenbach, Masaaki Suzuki, Thomas Dausgaard, Edward Gardner, and Jacek Kaspszyk among others.

In 2019, Maria Forsström won 1st prize for Best Musician at the long-established Varazdin Baroque Festival, Croatia, with songs by Caccini, Caldara, Frescobaldi, Kapsberger, Stefano Landi, Mazzocchi, Monteverdi, Sances, and Strozzi. Maria has recorded for Musica Rediviva, Sony Classical, Chandos Records, and BIS. In 2021, she appeared on BIS Records in Monteverdi ‘s L’Orfeo as La Messaggera, with great reviews.

In October 2021, she joined The Oxford Lieder Festival for the sixth time since 2014 with the pianist Matti Hirvonen, and she currently performs the Schubert Winterreise together with acclaimed pianist Bengt Forsberg.

During the 2023-24 season, Maria dedicates herself to the creative programming of chamber music: a Winterreise with video scenography by Danish artist Lene Juhl, commissioning new music for her trio of vibraphone/marimba/organ/piano and voice, and collaborating with among others the writer and 2020 Nobel Prize winner Louise Glück. In March 2023, Maria Forsström will sing the main role in a new chamber opera by Norwegian composer and pianist Wolfgang Plagge.

Bengt Forsberg

Piano

Bengt Forsberg studied at the Gothenburg School of Music and Musicology, where he first majored in organ, receiving his soloist’s diploma as pianist in 1978. He went on to continue his training with Peter Feuchtwanger in London and Herman D Koppel in Copenhagen. Much of Forsberg’s renown is focused on his work as a chamber musician, both in Sweden and abroad. Among his regular partners are prominent instrumentalists, such as the cellist Mats Lidström and the violinist Nils-Erik Sparf.

His collaboration with the mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter has been particularly successful and they regularly perform all over the world. They have also made many joint recordings, which have received great international acclaim, including a Grammy Award for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album.

Bengt Forsberg also appears as a soloist with orchestra and has performed with all the major Swedish symphony orchestras, as well as a number of international ones. His repertoire is exceptionally wide and he has become particularly renowned for playing unknown music by well-known composers, as well as for exploring lesser-known and unjustly neglected composers, such as Medtner, Korngold, Alkan, Chabrier, and Percy Grainger. He is also the music director of a well-regarded chamber music series in Stockholm.

Bengt Forsberg has been a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music since 1997.