Winter and the moody, contemplative music of Franz Schubert go well together. One of his best-known vocal works is titled “Winterreise’’ — “A Winter Journey.’’ And a winter journey is exactly what audience members had to undertake to get to the recital of music by Schubert for piano and voice at the Gardner Museum recital hall on a snowy, arctic Sunday afternoon.
But it was not “Winterreise’’ that the hardy and heavily booted band of listeners came to hear. Instead, two young rising stars on the classical music scene, baritone Randall Scarlata and pianist Benjamin Hochman, offered an elegant, polished, and heartfelt performance of another, somewhat less familiar song cycle by Schubert, “Schwanengesang’’ (“Swan Song’’). Completing the all-Schubert program was the imposing piano Sonata No. 17 in D Major, D. 850, performed by Hochman from memory with fluid style and disarming natural grace.