Die schöne Müllerin
No singer can ignore Franz Schubert. The composer established the form of the romantic song, in which text and music, singing and piano accompaniment, melody, harmony and rhythm blend into a poetic whole. Two of his song cycles are regarded as the pinnacle of his Lieder compositions: Die schöne Müllerin and Die Winterreise, based on the poems of the Dessau poet Wilhelm Müller. Both cycles are about wandering and unrequited love, but musically, they could hardly be more different! Both works have accompanied the baritone Christian Gerhaher throughout his career. During his residency he will perform them with pianist Gerold Huber in two consecutive concerts. And there’s more: On 15 November, the singer himself will give a talk in which he introduces the ideas and soundworld of the cycles. The figure of the miller’s daughter who mischievously and flirtatiously beguiles men’s hearts is found in many poems of the period. In Wilhelm Müller’s cycle, a wandering journeyman miller falls in love with the daughter of his master. At first, he hopes his feelings will be reciprocated, but ultimately realises that the object of his affections favours the bold hunter. The young miller has to go through a painful process of realisation before he ultimately chooses to take his own life. Musically, Schubert brilliantly reflects the constant changing of his feelings, from their upbeat, optimistic beginnings, singing about the joys of wandering, to The Brook’sLullaby with its mood of approaching death.