LABELS: Well Tempered
WORKS: Die schöne Müllerin
PERFORMER: Christòpheren Nomura (baritone)/ Kayo Iwama (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: WTP 5183
The American baritone Christòpheren Nomura is little known in Britain, and that’s a pity. A young protégé of Marilyn Home, he has a full-bodied, free-flowing lyric baritone, and his keen musical intelligence is quick to shape it to every passing mood of Schubert’s lovelorn miller’s apprentice.
The strophic songs, where each verse is set to the same music, are sensitively variegated; the introspective songs are most thoughtfully phrased and articulated. There’s a real sense of the pathos behind the repeated questioning of the brook: Nomura draws right back for the poignant ‘she loves me/she loves me not’ of ‘Der Neugierige’, and is tenderly alert to the pivotal last lines of ‘Pause’.
This is a long-pondered and heartfelt performance. So why only three stars? Simply because, in such a competitive field, Nomura still needs to make the verbal as well as the musical language work a little harder for him, so that words like ‘brausen’, ‘drehen’, ‘schneide’, ‘schlage’ can really drive forward his more syllabic faster songs. And because Kayo Iwama is just too self-effacing and insufficiently proactive as an accompanist. A week with Roger Vignoles or Graham Johnson, and that extra star might well be theirs. Hilary Finch