German tenor Jan Kobow has chosen to sing Schubert’s Winterreise cycle in the keys the composer originally selected. These original keys possess particular charms that help capture the musical atmosphere of the time. Jan Kobow is accompanied by Christoph Hammer, who plays on a Viennese grand piano manufactured around 1810 by Joseph Brodmann. This is
Kobow’s third recording of Schubert lieder for ATMA.
The valuable Brodmann piano was meticulously restored in Hamburg by Ulrich Weymar 200 years later. Jan Kobow says, “it has a clear and brilliant tone which is somewhat contrary to the darker keys we are used to when hearing Winterreise. But this is compensated for by its quite lower pitch of 420 Hertz.” The performers decided on tuning the Brodmann piano in the old way — known as “unevenly hovering”— which makes this historical instrument sound better than when it is tuned according to current practises.