What could be more appropriate than a performance of Schubert's Winterreise (Winter Journey) in the Lake District in winter? The great song cycle, settings of poems by Wilhelm Müller, compares the poet's loss of love to the cold and bleakness of winter. The journey of the cycle includes songs inspired by a weather-vane, torrent and stream, a charcoal-burners' hut, a dream of spring-time, a crow and a wayside inn. All familiar features of the Lake District scene.
St Patrick's church in Patterdale, Cumbria is the opposite, I found it warm and welcoming to visitors to their series of concerts. These are in aid of restoration fund for their two- manual organ built by Hill & Son of London, said to be one of the best parish organs in the Lake District.
Chris Underwood (bass-baritone) from Glasgow and Michael Hancock (piano), from Carlisle, brought not only their immensely detailed and knowledgeable interpretation of Schubert's great song cycle, but also a surtitles display so that we were able to follow the musings of the poet in full detail. This allowed Chris to deliver a full performance as he was assured that the audience was following not just the music but also the meaning of the words.
Michael accompanied sympathetically and sensitively, as befits a their performing relationship that has endured for many years. He was playing a fine, soft-toned, baby grand Challen piano which is on loan to St Patricks, Patterdale.
Their performance gave me more musical enjoyment than the performance of Don Giovanni at Covent Garden two nights previously. A timely reminder that there is indeed fine music outside of the capital.