REVIEW: Roderick Williams and Ian Burnside, Wesley Centre, Harrogate

Baritone Roderick Williams
Baritone Roderick Williams

Franz Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin (1823) is considered to be one of the greatest song cycles ever written.

It is part of a collection of more than six hundred songs composed during Schubert’s short life, really a duet for voice and piano, they are equal partners.

Many of the songs are Schubert’s personal response to romantic poetry.

Baritone Roderick Williams and pianist Iain Burnside are versatile international stars of the concert hall and recording studio.

The twenty songs of Die schöne Müllerin are about young love and nature with words by Wilhelm Müller.

So well written by Schubert, they are mostly short and concise.

All emotions are described, the first two Journeying and Where to are light-hearted, the melodies well known.

Later songs Impatience and Mine have a changed mood describing concern and unhappiness but the final song The brook’s lullaby with its haunting melody, is reflective.

Roderick Williams’ mellow baritone voice was sometimes soft and lyrical, at others powerful and always he sang with such accurate intonation.

Ian Burnside’s virtuoso piano part was sensitive and supportive, never obtrusive.

They are the perfect Lieder partners.

This was a lovely concert and very engaging.