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Franz SCHUBERT (1797–1828)
Die schöne Müllerin, D 795 (Op. 25) (1823)
Andreas Post (tenor)
Tatjana Dravenau (piano)
rec. Thürmer-Saal, Bochum, Germany, 3-5 September 2007
sung texts enclosed
GENUIN GEN88117 [58:11]
Experience Classicsonline


The duo on this recital is no newcomer in the CD catalogue. There are at least another two issues available with Lieder as well as some lighter fare. Light is also the adjective that comes most readily to mind when I try to summarize the music-making of these two young artists.
 
‘Light’ can have several connotations; in my word-book it is primarily a description of the actual sounds. Tatjana Dravenau has a delicate touch and fleet finger-work though the piano tone is a bit grey and dull as recorded. It might be the instrument but a Bösendorfer normally has more colours than this. Anyway, her playing is fresh and responsive and she is flexible in a way that reveals that this is not a temporary partnership.
 
Andreas Post also belongs in the light category among recent German lyric tenors – a field that is quite crowded at the moment. It is a youthful voice and he often uses it with discrimination: his soft singing is finely nuanced, he has a good legato and he differentiates conscientiously between piano and forte. But here I still have some objections. There are few dynamic markings in Schubert’s songs in general and when there are they are mainly confined to the piano part. Schubert leaves a lot to the singer’s judgement and in my opinion Andreas Post is prone to overdo dynamics in both extremes. His p becomes pp, his f becomes ff. In other words his is a reading that belongs more in the late 19th century expressionism. There are advantages of course and we have learnt from Fischer-Dieskau and others that wide dynamics do not necessarily conflict with Schubert’s intention. But where Fischer-Dieskau also invests his readings with expressive word-painting, Andreas Post rarely goes very far under the surface. He certainly has the measure for these songs, he is far from inexpressive and he does change his tone colour at key moments, e.g. at the end of Am Feierabend, where he towards the end darkens his voice admirably at Euer Werk hat mir gefallen. He is responsive to the text and his voice possesses both beauty and intensity but the extreme dynamics too often result in crooned pianissimo and strident fortissimo. Listen to Die böse Farbe to see what I mean. It is over-emphatic. There is also a tendency that he is unnecessarily fast sometimes. Compared to other readings that I find ideal it’s often only a matter of seconds but this little difference can be enough to make one reading feel rushed and another relaxed.
 
If what I have written above seems like a write-off I have expressed myself clumsily. There is a lot to admire here. Wohin? is as youthfully expectant as one could wish; Morgengruss is soft and inward with more emphasis and eagerness in the fourth stanza; Pause is both beautiful and intense; Eifersucht und Stolz is nervously aggressive. The last four songs are regrettably the least attractive. I don’t know if they were recorded chronologically but here it seems that he loses concentration, the tone is more forced and the readings seem un-engaged.
 
While not a top contender in the Müllerin race – the field is certainly crowded – it is still a version that has its merits and it is only when setting a newcomer against well established readings that possible shortcomings are highlighted. Among recent tenor recordings of Die schöne Müllerin I still rate Jan Kobow’s version – with fortepiano accompaniments and discreet embellishments of the song line – very highly, but I have a brand new recording with Christoph Prégardien waiting in the review pile, so readers in urgent need of a new Müllerin are advised to be patient and await that review before taking action.
 
There is a good essay by Dr. Stefan Nagel and the German texts but alas no translations. The recorded sound, bar the somewhat dull piano sound, cannot be faulted.
 
Göran Forsling
 



 


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