The man who rewrote the Winterreise

In a week overflowing with mortality, news arrives of the death of Hans Zender, a German modernist whose best-known work was his inventive orchestration of Schubert’s Winterreise cycle.

Zender was 82.

He wrote three operas, one of them after Joyce. His students include Isabel Mundry and Hanspeter Kyburz. A capable conductor, he was general music director in Hamburg and Bonn.

But his hynotic treatment of Winterreise overshadowed all else.


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  • great man, thinker, conductor, musician and composer ! and much beloved by many orchestras, pupils, musicians and colleagues.

  • Absolutely more than “capable”. I recall, for example, staggering Stravinsky and Varese with the BBCSO from December 1982 in London.
    As recorded, his Saarbrucken Mahler, and most especially, to my ears the Seventh, is arguably amongst the finest [and most underrated] on disc.

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