Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin

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WORKS: Die schöne Müllerin
PERFORMER: Fritz Wunderlich (tenor) Hubert Giesen (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 447 452-2 ADD (1966)
Wunderlich had, perhaps, the loveliest German lyric tenor voice of the postwar era. In this, his last recording, there are no expressive limitations that matter, while the singing is faultless and diction immaculate. Wunderlich also recorded Die schöne Müllerin eight years earlier with the rather wooden pianist Kurt Heinz Stolze. He sounded more virile and incisive then, though some of the tempi are slower and the RCA reissue hasn’t cleaned up the buzzy recording. That apart, your choice may be a matter of taste. At least DG gives you the full texts in German and English. Giesen shapes the music more freely than Stolze, though not to much purpose, while Wunderlich remains perfectly poised and deeply moving. Adrian Jack