As in Winterreise, Die schöne Müllerin is part of a cycle of twenty Lieder composed by Schubert on poems by Wilhelm Müller; it is a rite of passage for all singers specialising in this unique art. Initiated by the great Hartmut Höll, German tenor Christoph Prégardien has performed this emblematic Romantic piece hundreds of times. He recorded it with pianist Andreas Staier, but this time live in 2008 at Stuttgart, with Michael Gees accompanying him in the Schubertian gesture: a miller's boy is rebuffed by his master's daughter, "the lovely maid of the mill" who prefers a hunter to him.
A mundane story of unrequited love, you might say, except that the poor miller finds solace in the waters of a stream where he drowns himself. The essence of Schubert is there: tragedy transpires from the mundane, acute pain contradicts a carefree spirit. Christoph Prégardien skilfully recounts a story in each lied which he refers to as a "miniscule drama." The gentle tenderness of his voice doesn't jar with its brightness and luminosity. Each world, each note, is full of emotional intelligence.
Gerald Moore (piano) - Geoffroy Parsons (piano) - Orchestre national de l'ORTF, Berislav Klobucar (conductor)