Journey For One

A Winterreise Fantasy For Solo Piano

Hilary Demske piano

Release Date: October 22, 2021
Catalog #: NV6370
Format: Digital & Physical
Solo Instrumental

In the nearly 200 years since its composition for voice and piano, many have tackled Schubert’s Winterreise. Steinway artist Hilary Demske, however, transforms the cycle into a series of works for solo piano on JOURNEY FOR ONE on Navona Records, focusing on the instrument’s poignant ability to represent the original composition’s lyricism and complexity. By freely experimenting with prepared elements, melodic fragments, and manipulating the placement and length of gestures—along with translating the meaning of Müller’s poetry to music—Demske adds a fresh, unique perspective to classic repertoire. The result is a refraction, rather than reflection, of Schubert’s masterpiece that produces a series of works that go beyond simple reinterpretation and venture into the realm of complete reimagination.


Hear the full album on YouTube

"Pianistically, this is brilliantly done and played, and impeccably recorded"


Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Gute Nacht Franz Schubert, Hilary Demske Hilary Demske, piano 4:02
02 Die Wetterfahne Franz Schubert, Hilary Demske Hilary Demske, piano 2:28
03 Gefrorne Tränen Franz Schubert, Hilary Demske Hilary Demske, piano 2:23
04 Erstarrung Franz Schubert, Hilary Demske Hilary Demske, piano 4:37
05 Der Lindenbaum Franz Schubert, Hilary Demske Hilary Demske, piano 4:27
06 Wasserflut Franz Schubert, Hilary Demske Hilary Demske, piano 2:31
07 Auf Dem Flusse Franz Schubert, Hilary Demske Hilary Demske, piano 3:10
08 Rückblick Franz Schubert, Hilary Demske Hilary Demske, piano 2:37
09 Irrlicht Franz Schubert, Hilary Demske Hilary Demske, piano 3:49
10 Rast Franz Schubert, Hilary Demske Hilary Demske, piano 2:30
11 Frühlingstraum Franz Schubert, Hilary Demske Hilary Demske, piano 2:01
12 Einsamkeit Franz Schubert, Hilary Demske Hilary Demske, piano 3:24
13 Die Post Franz Schubert, Hilary Demske Hilary Demske, piano 3:14
14 Der Greise Kopf Franz Schubert, Hilary Demske Hilary Demske, piano 1:36
15 Die Krähe Franz Schubert, Hilary Demske Hilary Demske, piano 3:54
16 Letzte Hoffnung Franz Schubert, Hilary Demske Hilary Demske, piano 4:02
17 Im Dorfe Franz Schubert, Hilary Demske Hilary Demske, piano 3:36
18 Der Stürmische Morgen Franz Schubert, Hilary Demske Hilary Demske, piano 3:42
19 Täuschung Franz Schubert, Hilary Demske Hilary Demske, piano 2:51
20 Der Wegweiser Franz Schubert, Hilary Demske Hilary Demske, piano 2:52
21 Das Wirtshaus Franz Schubert, Hilary Demske Hilary Demske, piano 3:48
22 Mut Franz Schubert, Hilary Demske Hilary Demske, piano 3:25
23 Die Nebensonnen Franz Schubert, Hilary Demske Hilary Demske, piano 2:14
24 Der Leiermann Franz Schubert, Hilary Demske Hilary Demske, piano 2:39

Recorded at Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto ON, Canada
Produced by David Jaeger
Recorded, Edited & Mixed by Dennis Patterson

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Danielle Lewis

General Manager of Audio & Sessions Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland, Sara Warner

Artist Information

Hilary Demske


Steinway Artist Hilary Demske has received widespread critical acclaim as a “pianist of rare technical finesse and musicality” (Deseret News). She regularly appears across the globe as a soloist and collaborative pianist, with American Record Guide describing her as full of “splendid panache and assurance,” and Fanfare noting that “a composer couldn't ask for more committed or convincing performances.”


Dedicated to Alice Frances Demske Hansen (1978-2012)

Schubert’s Winterreise (Winter Journey) is an intimate glimpse into grief; the simple story of a young man rejected by love conveys the universal experience of searching for peace. The dream-fantasy is rich with pain, love, despair, and resolve, emotions that Schubert juxtaposes in a haunting masterpiece.

Nothing can match the beauty of the human voice. My goal is not to arrange or improve the original work but to offer a different lens and add my individual perspective. I freely experiment with melodic fragments, highlighting meaningful gestures while not confining myself to their original placement or length.

Foremost in my mind was the text and meaning of Müller’s poetry. I built many pieces around individual lines that resonated with me and reflected the overall poem, leading to increasingly dramatic compositions and unusual techniques. Nearly all of the pieces use non-Schubertian styles, extended techniques, or
percussion instruments.

The result is a work that has clear origins with Schubert’s “Winterreise,” but is more of a refraction than a reflection. It represents my individual journey and experience with the music.

— Hilary Demske


I came here a stranger, As a stranger I depart.
May favored me
With many a bunch of flowers.
The girl spoke of love,
Her mother even of marriageNow the world is so gloomy,
The road shrouded in snow.

I cannot choose the time
To begin my journey,
Must find my own way
In this darkness.
A shadow of the moon travels
With me as my companion,
And upon the white fields
I seek the deer’s track.

Why should I stay here any longer
So that people can drive me away?
Let stray dogs howl
In front of their master’s house;
Love loves to wanderGod made it that wayFrom one to the other,
My dearest, good night!

I don’t want to disturb your dreaming,
It would be a shame to wake you.
You won’t hear my step,
Softly, softly the door closes!
I write in passing
On your gate: Good night,
So that you may see
That I thought of you.

Tympani mallet on strings

The wind plays with the weathervane
On my lovely darling’s house.
And I thought in my delusion,
That it mocked the poor fugitive.

He should have noticed sooner
The symbol displayed on the house,
So he wouldn’t ever have expected
To find a faithful woman within.

The wind plays with the hearts inside
As it does on the roof, only not so loudly.
Why should they care about my grief?
Their child is a rich bride.

Aluminum foil, tympani mallet without padding on strings

Frozen drops are falling
Down from my cheeks.
How could I have not noticed
That I have been weeping?

Ah tears, my tears,
And are you so tepid
That you freeze to ice
Like cool morning dew?

Yet you burst from the wellspring
Of my heart so burning hot,
As if you wanted to melt
The entire winter’s ice!

I search the snow in vain
For the trace of her steps.
Where she, arm in arm with me,
Crossed the green meadow.

I want to kiss the ground,
Penetrate ice and snow
With my hot tears,
Until I see the soil.

Where will I find a blossom,
Where will I find green grass?
The flowers are all dead,
The turf is so pale.

Shall then no momento
Accompany me from here?
When my pains cease,
Who will tell me of her then?

My heart is as if dead,
Her image frozen cold within;
If my heart ever thaws again,
Her image will also melt away

At the well by the gate
There stands a linden tree;
I dreamed in its shadow
Many a sweet dream.
I carved in its bark
Many a word of love;
In joy and in sorrow
I was always drawn to it.

Again today I had to travel
Past it in the depths of night.
There even in the darkness
I closed my eyes.
And its branches rustled,
As if they called to me:
Come here to me, friend,
Here you’ll find peace!

The cold winds blew
Right into my face;
The hat flew off my head,
I didn’t turn around.
Now I am many hours
Distant from that place,
And I still hear it whispering:
You’d find peace here!

Drumstick wedged between lower strings, aluminum foil

Many a tear from my eyes
Has fallen in the snow;
Its cold flakes absorb
Thirstily the burning woe.

When it’s time for the grass to sprout
There blows a mild wind,
And the ice will break apart
And the soft snow melt away.

Snow, you know about my longing,
Tell me, where does your course lead?
If you just follow my tears,
The brook will soon receive you.

You will flow through the town with it,
In and out of the busy streets;
When you feel my tears burning,
There is my sweetheart’s house.

You who thundered so cheerfully,
You clear, untamed river,
How quiet you have become,
Give no word of farewell.

With a hard stiff crust
You have covered yourself,
Lie cold and unmoving,
Outstretched in the sand.

In your covering I inscribe
With a sharp stone
The name of my sweetheart
And the hour and day, as well.

The day of the first greeting,
The day on which I left;
Around name and figures winds
A broken ring.

My heart, in this stream
Do you now recognize your image?
And under its crust
Is there also a raging torrent?

It burns under both my feet,
Even though I walk on ice and snow;
I don’t want to catch my breath
Until I can no longer see the spires.

I tripped on every stone,
As I hurried out of the town;
The crows hurled chunks of snow and ice
On my hat from every house.

How differently you received me,
You town of inconstancy!
At your sparkling windows sang
The lark and nightingale in competition.

The bushy linden trees bloomed,
The clear streams murmured brightly,
And, oh, two maiden’s eyes glowed
Your fate was sealed, my boy!

Whenever that day enters my thoughts,
I want to look back once more,
I want to turn back again
And stand still before her house.


Into the deepest mountain chasms
A will o’ the wisp lured me;
How to find a way out
Doesn’t worry me much.

I’m used to going astray,
And every way leads to the goal.
Our joys, our sorrows,
Are all a will o’ the wisp’s game!

Through the mountain stream’s dry channel
I wend my way calmly downward.
Every river finds its way to the ocean,
And every sorrow to its grave.

Now I first notice how tired I am
As I lay myself down to rest;
Walking kept me going strong
On the inhospitable road.
My feet didn’t ask for rest,
It was too cold to stand still,
My back felt no burden,
The storm helped to blow me onward.

In a charcoal-burner’s tiny house
I have found shelter;
But my limbs won’t relax,
Their hurts burn so much.
You, too, my heart, in strife and storm
So wild and so bold,
Feel first in the silence your serpent
Stir with burning sting!

I dreamed of many-colored flowers,
The way they bloom in May;
I dreamed of green meadows,
Of merry bird calls.

And when the roosters crowed,
My eye awakened;
It was cold and dark,
The ravens shrieked on the roof.

But on the window panes
Who painted the leaves there?
I suppose you’ll laugh at the dreamer
Who saw flowers in winter?

I dreamed of love reciprocated,
Of a beautiful maiden,
Of embracing and kissing,
Of joy and delight.

And when the roosters crowed,
My heart awakened;
Now I sit here alone
And reflect on the dream.

I close my eyes again,
My heart still beats so warmly.
When will you leaves on the window turn green?
When will I hold my love in my arms?

As a dreary cloud
Moves through the clear sky,
When in the crown of the fir tree
A faint breeze blows,

So I travel my road
Onward with sluggish feet,
Through bright, happy life,
Lonely and unrecognized.

Oh, that the air should be so still!
Oh, that the world should be so light!
When the storms still raged,
I was not so miserable.

From the highroad a posthorn sounds.
Why do you leap so high,
My heart?

The post does not bring a letter for you,
Why the strange compulsion,
My heart?

Of course, the post comes from the town,
Where I once had a dear sweetheart,
My heart!

Would you like to take a look over there,
And ask how things are going,
My heart?

Xylophone mallet on woodblock

The frost has spread a white sheen
All over my hair;
I thought I had become an old man
And was very pleased about it.

But soon it melted away,
And now I have black hair again
So that I am horrified by my youth
How long still to the grave!

From the sunset to the dawn
Many a head turns white.
Who can believe it? And mine
Has not on this whole journey!

A crow has accompanied me
Since I left the town,
Until today, as ever,
It has circled over my head.

Crow, you strange creature,
Won’t you ever leave me?
Do you plan soon as booty
To have my carcase?

Well, I won’t be much longer
Wandering on the road.
Crow, let me finally see
Loyalty unto the grave!

Here and there on the trees
There’s a colored leaf to be seen.
And I stop in front of the trees
Often, lost in thought.

I watch a particular leaf
And pin my hopes on it;
If the wind plays with my leaf
I tremble from head to foot.

Oh, and if the leaf falls to earth,
My hopes fall along with it.
I fall to earth as well
And weep on the grave of my hopes

The dogs are barking, the chains are rattling;
The people are sleeping in their beds,
Dreaming of things they don’t have,
Refreshing themselves in good and bad.

And in the morning all will have vanished.
Oh well, they had their share of pleasure
And hope that what they missed
Can be found again on their pillows.

Drive me out with your barking, you vigilant dogs,
Don’t let me rest when it’s time for slumber.
I am finished with all my dreams.
Why should I linger among the sleepers?

Rubber floormat on strings

How the storm has torn asunder
The heavens’ grey cover!
The cloud tatters flutter
Around in weary strife.

And fiery red flames
Dart around among them;
That’s what I call a morning
That really fits my mood!

My heart sees in the heavens
Its own image painted
It’s nothing but the winter,
Winter cold and wild!

Aluminum foil, tympani mallet on strings

A light does a friendly dance before me,
I follow it here and there;
I like to follow it and watch
The way it lures the wanderer.

Ah, a man as wretched as I am
Is glad to fall for the merry trick
That, beyond ice and night and fear,
Shows him a bright, warm house.

And a loving soul within
Only illusion lets me win!

Why then do I avoid the highways
Where the other travelers go,
Search out the hidden pathways
Through the snowy mountain tops?

I’ve committed no crime
That I should hide from other men
What is the foolish compulsion
That drives me into desolation?

Signposts stand along the highways
Pointing to the cities,
And I wander ever further
Without rest and look for rest.

Before me I see a signpost standing
Fixed before my gaze.
I must travel a road
From which no one ever returned.

My way has led me to a graveyard;
Here I’ll stop, I told myself.
You green mourning garlands must be the sign
That invites weary travelers into the cool inn.

What, all the rooms in this house are full?
I’m tired enough to drop, have taken mortal hurt.
Oh, merciless inn, you turn me away?
Well, onward then, still further, my loyal walking staff!

If the snow flies in my face,
I shake it off again.
When my heart speaks in my breast,
I sing loudly and gaily.

I don’t hear what it says to me,
I have no ears to listen;
I don’t feel when it laments,
Complaining is for fools.

Happy through the world along
Facing wind and weather!
If there’s no God upon the earth,
Then we ourselves are Gods!

Woodblock played with drumstick, drumstick on strings

I saw three suns in the sky,
Stared at them hard for a long time;
And they stayed there so stubbornly
That it seemed they didn’t want to leave me.

Ah, you are not my suns!
Go, look into someone else’s face!
Yes, recently I, too, had three
But now the best two have gone down.

If only the third would also set!
I will feel better in the dark.

Tympani and xylophone mallets on strings

Over there beyond the village stands an organ-grinder,
And with numb fingers he plays as best he can.
Barefoot on the ice, he totters here and there,
And his little plate is always empty.

No one listens to him, no one notices him,
And the dogs growl around the old man.
And he just lets it happen, as it will,
Plays, and his hurdy-gurdy is never still.

Strange old man, shall I go with you?
Will you play your organ to my songs?

Penny taped to a tuning mute, rubber doormat on strings