Following their exceptional Winterreise and now this equally fine Die schöne Müllerin, tenor Mark Padmore and pianist Paul Lewis may be on their way to cornering the Schubert Lieder franchise for the foreseeable future. Besides being the most lyrically beautiful modern rendition of this oft-recorded cycle, the recording is a model of clear, natural presentation of voice and piano in a very complementary acoustic.
As I've said before, Padmore's voice has an innate beauty that is immediately engaging no matter what he sings, but his unquestionable understanding of Schubert's sound and emotionally-charged world, so devastatingly realized in these vividly drawn, poignantlyRead more affecting songs, lifts his interpretations to a level that separates the mere purveyor of song from the master-singer, the sloganeer from the musical poet.
Padmore and Lewis make a formidable team, which we appreciate from the outset, where the piano's unbridled ebullience is reflected perfectly in the uninhibited joy of Padmore's wandering miller. Later we notice the various characterizations of the churning mill-stream, the deeply-felt musings of the young miller--and we're impressed that something is truly ominous in the rumbling piano figure in "Halt!", and indeed in every reference to the turning mill-stone or determinedly flowing mill-stream. "Der Neugierige" is a highlight, as it should be, as is the transitional "Pause" and the resigned "Die liebe Farbe", and happily we're left totally devastated at the last fading lines of "Des Baches Wiegenlied". You probably have another version or two of this essential work; but you still absolutely need this one.