The popularity of Winterreise in the concert halls of the world would have surprised Schubert's contemporaries. When they first heard the work they were dismayed, not only by its pessimism and unrelenting melancholy but also by the sparse textures and (when compared to the other songs of Schubert they knew) its lack of charm. The composer himself had seemed somewhat gloomy during the composition of the cycle, so much so that Josef von Spaun asked him what was the matter. 'You will soon hear it and understand', the composer replied. Obviously he was right, and this recording featuring Mattias Goerne is widely considered one of the finest on disc.