Saturday, September 14, 2013

Die Schöne Mullerin Sing-off – Nine Tenors in 90 Minutes

Ernst Haefliger
I really should just keep my virtual radio tuned to Austria's Ö1. This week on Stimme Hören (Hearing Voices), was a tenor-all-star version of Die Schöne Mullerin, featuring tenors historic and current: from Ernst Haefliger and Aksel Schiotz to Werner Güra and Jonas Kaufmann. It's a Lieder-nerd's paradise!

I guess they figured every good Austrian knows Fritz Wunderlich’s performances by heart, since they refer to him but don't actually play any of his recordings. 

(For an archived recording of this broadcast, click here.)  

Aksel Schiotz
I lost track of whether they present the entire song cycle (but I think they skipped at least one). In some cases they play the same song back-to-back sung by different tenors. (…three versions of Am Feierabend 
in one sequence.) 

Werner Krenn
It’s fascinating to compare performances – Christoph Pregardien even adds some light and tasteful (to me) ornamentation (though his wouldn't be my first choice all-time performance.)  

(One performance I wish they’d have excerpted is Peter Schreier’s recording with guitar accompaniment. I really have to find that one again.)

There is some chat in between the songs, mostly about the tenor who is about to sing. But there’s not a lot of talk, and the German is fairly understandable. Or you can just go lalalala to yourself until the music starts again. 

Anton Dermota

Julius Patzak

P.S. ..and the winner is (for this listener) Ernst Haefliger!


  1. Snap! I've been listening to Fritz Wunderlich singing Die Schöne Müllerin this week, though, rather than Ö1's choices. And Olaf Baer, although obviously he's not a tenor. Back-to-back comparisons are so interesting to do, aren't they? I don't know if my ears/brain could cope with more than about 4 at any one time, though :-)

    1. I have his recording too. But I also just ordered the Haefliger recording. (I think I used to have it. It probably disappeard in "the Great CD Purge" a few years ago.)

    2. Haefliger is new to me. What is it about his performance that speaks to you more than the others, Rob?

    3. Well...His voice is powerful yet smooth and consisten (at least in his 1950s - 1960s recordings), and he's always very musical, and expresses the texts without being coy or overacting.

    4. He sounds like the perfect lieder singer. I will keep an eye out for him on my continuing adventures with lieder and other art songs.
      In case you want to get hold of that Fritz Wunderlich documentary I mentioned in response to your Fritz post in August, I put the reference details into a follow-up comment on that post.

    5. Ernst Haefliger is a wonderful Tamino, too, in this bargain download of three Mozart operas:


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