Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D795

Reviewed on Tue 13 Aug, 2019

Roderick Williams’ softly burnished baritone proves itself a nimble, fleet and liquid instrument that calls approvingly to mind Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in his youth.

Roderick Williams and Iain Burnside launch their survey of Schubert’s song cycles with a winning Die schöne Müllerin that bodes more than well for what is to follow. With the accent on a limpid, lightness of touch, Williams’ softly burnished baritone proves itself a nimble, fleet and liquid instrument that calls approvingly to mind Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in his youth. If he errs on the side of early rapture (‘Am Feierabend’ noticeably animated) and rhapsody (a gorgeously tranquil ‘Der Neugierige’) rather than later reproach (shying away from biting into the undisguised bile of ‘Der Jäger’ and from taking full advantage of the combustible ‘Eifersucht und Stolz’), it’s nonetheless a beautifully manicured and mellifluous approach that bears one lyrical, lilting reward after another. Throughout, Burnside’s deft, dexterous playing demonstrates why he is one of today’s most accomplished and articulate accompanists. The sublime ‘Des Baches Wiegenlied’ is one of the finest on disc. Brian Newbould’s authoritative notes and exemplary sound add to the pleasure.
–Michael Quinn