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It will be clear enough by now with what tenderness and sensitivity Werner Güra performs these songs. He has also the robust vigour to encompass the unwelcome intrusion of the huntsman; and Jan Schultsz is sympathetically adept at the keyboard, if sometimes missing the essential innocence that is at the core of the cycle. At first sight it seems strange that Schubert should have dedicated Die Schöne Müllerin to a baritone, immediately requiring transposition of three songs; but Karl, Freiherr von Schönstein, was not only an influential friend intimate with the Esterházy family, but was singer enough to introduce Schubert's music to aristocratic circles it might not otherwise so readily have reached. The Miller's Flowers is one of the songs transposed for Schönstein, and here the rivulet is again the miller's friend and will provide a backdrop to the flowers [listen -- track 9,0:03-0:52]. In the penultimate song, the miller's heart has suffered unto death, and now the stream administers in its own voice what comfort it can; but the miller can visualise repose only in its cool depths [listen -- track 19, 0:00-1:10]. Wilhelm Müller never heard the settings of his verse by the composer who penetrated most deeply into it.

Copyright © 26 June 2002 Robert Anderson, London, UK


Franz Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin

HMC 901708 DDD Stereo 63'20" 2000 harmonia mundi sa

Werner Güra, tenor; Jan Schultsz, piano



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