Interesting and beautiful live performance, with bonus encor
Barbara Miller | Bellevue, WA United States | 03/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This performance is noteworthy for Pregardien's beautiful singing and detailed interpretation. In the accompanying interview, Pregardien explains why he adds vocal ornamentation while performing Schubert's songs, and these ornaments will no doubt annoy some listeners, although others will appreciate the variation they add to some of the strophic songs. I was particularly struck by how different the performance of the final song "Des Baches Wiegenlied" is here from many others that I've heard. Since I have always loved being lulled by the repetition of the gentle rocking rhythm and harmonies in that song, the fierceness with which some of the strophes are approached put me off at first, but they are effective and expressive of the emotion in the text. Pregardien's tenor voice is quite smooth and nuanced.
At the end of the performance, there are three encores. When I saw them return to the stage with music in the hands of the pianist, I couldn't imagine what one would sing after an entire "Schone Mullerin" but the answer is: three songs from Schwanengesang. The first, "Liebesbotschaft", is remarkably appropriate, as it also depicts a lover and a stream, with a happier outcome than in the song cycle. This leads easily into "Aufenthalt" and "Der Taubenpost".
In the accomopanying interview (in German, with available subtitles), Pregardien discusses his interpretation of the story being told by the song cycle, as well as the cycle in relation to Schubert's own life, evidence from autograph scores as to how Schubert composed the songs, the use of fortepiano (not used in this performance, but on an earlier recording he made) and vocal ornamentation, and how Pregardien teaches young singers approaching this cycle."
Schubert's Middle Period
Zarathustra | Sacramento, CA USA | 11/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The song cycle Die Schone Mullerin (D.795) was composed during Schubert's Middle Period (1820-23) soon after his Unfinished Symphony #8 (D.759). The Octet in D (D.803)and the Rosemunde Quartet #13 (D.804) soon followed. Missing in this period is the exuberance of his early period as exemplified by the Trout Quintet (D.667). Still to come is the chilling despair of his late period which we find in Winterreise (D.911) and the last three piano sonatas (D.958, 959 and 960).
I have two other versions of Die Schone Mullerin on CD by Hermann Prey and Ian Bostridge and this is my favorite. Pregardien gives a warm,intelligent interpretation of the songs and Michael Gees' accompaniment is outstanding. Don't miss the bonus commentary by Pregardien. The DVD is worth the price paid for his insights alone. He points out that the young man in the song cycle never tells the pretty young mill woman that he loves her (he only tells the brook and the forest) and explains why. That is an insight that you couldn't get from listening to the songs alone."