This is the simplest and heartiest of communal songs, an ideal invitation to the warmth of a party on a winter night. And what better party than a convivial Schubertiad Winterlied
? It has the archaic feel of modal folksong; Schubert thereby invents a background for the piece as if it were already the traditional and age-old music of rousing wassail. The Deutsch catalogue fails to list this version of the song which is in the collection of the Musikverein in Vienna and has come to light only since 1978. It has been published privately by Reinhard Van Hoorickx. The original (D242) version is exactly the same music sung by unaccompanied vocal trio (two tenors and bass). It is quite possible that Schubert provided a piano part for rehearsal purposes and that this ‘version’ was born of such practical considerations. For this reason the piano part is merely a straightforward reduction of the vocal parts and shows no sign of elaboration. As it happens, the instrument’s percussive strength suits the mood well. For this recording we have made a compromise between the choral nature of D242 and the solo layout of D242A: the tenor leads the song, but the bibulous invitation to the brotherhood prompts the entry of the men’s chorus.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1994