“Come over to Schober’s today, and I will sing you a cycle of horrifying songs. I am anxious to know what you say about them. They have cost me more effort than any of my other songs”. So Schubert introduced his circle to Winterreise, the 24-strong cycle to poems by Wilhelm Müller, completed the year before his 1828 death aged 31, which in its bleak depiction of a rejected lover’s solitary trudge through a nocturnal snowscape, represented the apotheosis of his Lied-shaped preoccupation with death and loneliness. Gute Nacht opens the set, its repetitive figures portraying the man’s numb trudging. ‘Der Lindenbaum’ is a brief respite, remembering happier times via a major-keyed transformation of the preceding tensely driven ‘Erstarrung’ (Frozen Stiff). However the set concludes bleakly with ‘Der Leiermann’, in which he contemplates continuing his wanderings at the side of a hurdy gurdy-playing beggar man he sees standing barefoot on the ice.