SCHUBERT: Die Schöne Müllerin – Thomas Meglioranza/ Reiko Uchida

by | Jul 16, 2019 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

SCHUBERT: Die Schone Mullerin, D. 795 – Thomas Meglioranza, baritone/ Reiko Uchida, piano – Available from, 61:23 *****:

Meglioranza is something of a phenom in my book. I was astounded by his Winterreise (covered in these pages), and now he comes along with—not surprisingly—Die Schone Mullerin (The Beautiful Girl of the Mill), Schubert’s masterly cycle that also happened to be the first extended lieder to be performed everywhere. Back then they didn’t relish the idea of thematic cycles, especially those that lasted an hour or more, but Shubert changed all that, as he did so many other things. The result here is a piece that has become the most recorded song traversal in history, bar none. Anyone entering this contest has a lot of competition.

Of course, the same holds true for Winterreise; yet, beloved as it is, the tone of the work is quite darker than the Mill, and though the former could be said to be more influential over time, the latter certainly has gripped the singing world in a singularly unique manner for almost 200 years now. Wilhelm Müller, who composed the poems for both cycles, is still considered a major poet of the age, though his fame continues to rest on Schubert’s accomplishments. But his influence would continue in the work of Heinrich Heine, a man whose poems form the base of numerous lied by Romantic composers.

Portrait of Fanz Schubert

Franz Schubert,
by Josef Kupelwieser

Though not rushed at all, Meglioranza’s Mill is on the quick side, at just over one hour. But, this should not concern anyone as the cycle is after all about a young man, and young men are in a bit of a rush. But what I love about this recording is really one of the same things that was so intriguing on Winterreise—the sense of lyrical buoyancy, a lightness of touch that adds so much in the way of flavor and response. You can almost hear the young man of the cycle speaking to you in normal, excited vocal tones, a conversational engagement of very personal quality. Meglioranza’s ability to speak music in this manner greatly enhances the work’s character and draws the listener into an almost disturbingly intimate tale, as if in hushed, enervated conversation. Reiko Uchida, this time playing an 1829 Anton Zierer fortepiano, must be given equal kudos in an amazingly supportive—no, collaborative role. Another must have, and I have a feeling it won’t be the last.

—Steven Ritter



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