Schubert’s “Die Schoene Muellerin” – the German translates to “The Beautiful Maid of the Mill” – on the surface is a simple, tragic love story, but Schubert’s music makes the chain of sentimental poems into something much greater. The songs tell the story of a love affair, beginning with cheer and adventure and then blossoming into romance. Then things take a turn for the worse – the hero loses the girl – and the song cycle ends in terrible sorrow. Throughout it all runs the motif of the brook that runs by the mill, and that elusive, otherworldly beauty that was Schubert’s hallmark.
The last time I heard “Die Schoene Muellerin” live was in 1996, when baritone Sanford Sylvan sang it in the University at Buffalo’s Slee Hall. It was an incredible performance – but part of the greatness of these deceptively simple songs is that they are highly individual and can be naturally marvelous in a lot of different ways.
Thanks to the Friends of Vienna, we get the chance to hear this wonderful song cycle performed by tenor David MacAdam and pianist Byron Sean. MacAdam is the general and artistic director of Ottawa Pocket Opera in Canada and teaches voice at Carleton University. A UB alumnus, he has sung several times with Nickel City Opera. Sean, a pianist of growing renown, has performed with singers here and in Europe.
The concert is at 3:30 p.m. Sunday in Unity Church (1243 Delaware Ave.). Tickets are $10. Visit www.friendsofvienna.org.
– Mary Kunz Goldman