Walter Olbertz / Peter Schreier

Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin

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Schubert's Die schöne Müllerin accompanied by a guitar!?! It's not as crazy as it sounds. Schubert's figurations for the piano fit well on a guitar, so it's not really a question of adjusting and adopting piano sonorities for a guitar. More importantly, the songs themselves gain a lot by being accompanied on a guitar: they sound more improvised, more relaxed, and more part of the music of the peasant folk than the music of the cultured elite. Although no one would suggest replacing the piano-accompanied Müllerin with a guitar-accompanied Müllerin, it does make sense and it does sound beautiful. It sounds especially beautiful in this performance by tenor Peter Schreier with guitarist Konrad Ragossnig. When this recording was made in 1982, Schreier was at his peak as a singer: light, strong, deeply soulful, and exquisitely sensitive, an ideal protagonist for Die schöne Müllerin. Ragossnig is a superb guitarist with an agile technique and a complete command of tonal colors. Plus, he is a superb accompanist. He's with Schreier in the exaltation of Mein!, with him in the anger of Der Jäger, with him in the despair of Trockne Blumen, and with him -- consolingly and compassionately -- in the final Des Baches Wiegenlied. This is well worth hearing for the performance, for the singer, for the accompanist, and for the alternative transcription.