The man who rewrote the Winterreise

The man who rewrote the Winterreise


norman lebrecht

October 23, 2019

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.



  • Ruben Greenberg says:

    Much better than just “capable” as a conductor. A major musical figure. Rest in peace.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    That piece could use SOME color, but it’s a pretty weird ‘rewrite’.

  • in memoriam Hans says:

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

  • James Benson says:

    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.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Strange that someone feels the need to brighten-up Schubert’s Winterreise.