Entertainment » Music

Schubert: Die Schone Mullerin Op 25 D 795

by Steven Bergman
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Mar 21, 2013
Schubert: Die Schone Mullerin Op 25 D 795

Franz Schubert's (1797-1828) famous song cycle, "Die schöne Müllerin" ("The Fair Miller-Maid"), is considered one of the earliest (and best written) examples of the genre. Written in 1823, Schubert compiled twenty poems by one of his contemporaries, Wilhelm Müller (1794-1827), and created a flowing, musical landscape that tells the tale of a journeyman and the unrequited love he suffers at the hands of a town maid after she marries a hunter.

Composed for tenor and pianoforte, "Die schöne Müllerin" has been recorded countless times by everyone from Peter Pears (with his partner, the composer Benjamin Britten, at the piano) to Sanford Sylvan (accompanied by David Breitman). The work is a wonderful opportunity for the singer to show off a wide vocal range, and Schubert's piano part allows the player an expanse of emotions and locations to visualize throughout their playing.

DUX Recording Producers has released a new recording of the Müller / Schubert collaboration (speculation has it that Müller died before not only hearing the piece, but most likely never knowing that Schubert was composing it). The Polish duo of Karol Kozlowski (tenor) and Jolanta Pawlik (fortepiano) navigates seamlessly through the songs, for an entertaining journey through the protagonist's eyes and heart. The young tenor, Kozlowski, shows a promising future, having only graduated from the Academy of Music in Gdansk in 2007. His opera roles have been relegated primarily to his home country to date, but this recording should gain him notice in other countries, as his performance is assertive and attentive. Kozlowski welcomes us into Schubert's world with "Das Wandern" ("Wandering"), as the subject of the cycle asks his master if he can set out; he features his top notes exclaiming "dein ist mein Herz" ("yours is my heart") in "Ungeduld" ("Impatience"), and highlights his versatility when determining that the miller-maid is "Mein!" ("Mine!"). All the while Pawlik paints a pianistic path for Kozlowski to walk.

The recording is very well done, and quite accessible for the listener seeking a composition to accompany his or her own "journey."

"Die schöne Müllerin"
Franz Schubert / Karol Kozlowski (tenor), Jolanta Pawlik (fortepiano)
CD and Digital formats
DUX Recording Producers

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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