German tenor Daniel Behle received degrees in composition and trombone at the Hamburg Conservatory and only pursued voice studies on the side, but his vocal progress was quick; within a year of his graduation in 2004, he had been accepted into the ensemble of the Vienna Volksoper. He has gone on to starring as Tamino in René Jacobs' superb recording of Die Zauberflöte, and this recording of Die schöne Müllerin and Auf dem Strom is his second solo release. It's easy to understand his success. His technique is absolutely secure and well supported, and his voice has both a natural sweetness and a clarion, heroic tone. Those gifts and skills are at the service of a lively and flexible musicality that makes him stand out as an artist of whom even greater things can be expected. His approach to the Schubert cycle is one of a sensitive, poetic soul, in contrast to the recklessly passionate abandon of Jonas Kaufmann's version, which was released at about the same time. The sheer freshness and unmannered beauty of Behle's voice are immediately apparent, as are the ease and spontaneity of his vocal production. As the songs unfold he becomes even more impressive; the extreme emotional arc of the cycle reveals the extent of his vocal versatility, the spectrum of colors he can unleash, and the honesty and depth of feeling of his interpretations. Norwegian pianist Sveinung Bjelland provides supple and strongly differentiated accompaniments; the contrast between the jauntiness of "Das Wandern" and the glistening shimmer of "Wohin?" is almost shocking. The disc also includes the too-rarely heard "Auf dem Strom," which has a terrific obbligato part for horn; it's one of Schubert's most striking extended songs, and this performance featuring Dutch hornist Ab Koster is thrillingly urgent. The sound of Capriccio's CD is clean, well-balanced, and immediate.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins
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