Corelli: Concerti Grossi, Op. 6 by Genesis Baroque, Sophie Gent & Lucinda Moon
An optimistic young wanderer happens upon a brook, which leads him to a mill, and in turn to the beautiful millers daughter – ‘die schöne mullerin’. He falls in love, but the girl’s heart belongs to another. In despair, the wanderer returns to the brook, where he drowns himself. This narrative formed the basis of Schubert’s 1823 song cycle Die Schöne Mullerin, the performance of which has become a right of passage for many a tenor and baritone.
For the last decade, tenor Christoph Pregardién’s 1992 Die Schöne Mullerin has been my recording of choice – I greatly admire his interpretation, and I rarely listen to others.
Enter baritone David Greco and keyboardist Erin Helyard. Die Schöne Mullerin sounds entirely different when performed by a baritone – the young wanderer is less a naïf and closer to the troubled protagonist of Winterreise – but such a voice lends depth to the cycle.
Unusually, Greco and Helyard add their own impressions on Schubert’s music in the form of variations during strophic songs, and frequent embellishments. Helyard additionally performs Schubert’s Impromptu in G-flat major, marking the wanderer’s turn from enamoured to lovelorn. Both give exquisite and compelling performances, worthy of acclaim. Move over Prégardian.