Schubert's song cycle Die schöne Müllerin is written for a tenor voice. It can easily be transposed down for a baritone, but it presents different challenges for a lower voice. Those challenges are surmounted by the English-born baritone Konrad Jarnot, who is emerging as a top lieder interpreter. The cycle is melodically simpler than Schubert's other cycles, with the young wanderer's initial infatuation with the miller's daughter depicted in straightforward strophic songs. As things go sour and the Romantic death wish gets into gear, the musical language broadens. Jarnot uses his warm, honeyed voice to its maximum advantage. He begins circumspectly, not trying to match tenors in the ebullience of the opening songs, and he slants the impact of the entire cycle toward the conclusion. In the later songs he broadens the tempo and adopts a more deliberate, more expressive mode, and the penultimate Trockne Blumen (dry flowers) is a masterpiece of chilling understatement. With characteristically superb sound from Germany's Oehms label, this is a Die schöne Müllerin recording that deserves consideration even from those with several examples in their collections already. All texts in the booklet, including those of the poems, are in German only; English translations of the poetry are available elsewhere online.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Die Schöne Müllerin, D 795|