Hanna-Elisabeth Müller is a musical miniaturist who, ever faithful to the texts of an album of songs by Robert Schumann, Francis Poulenc, and Alexander von Zemlinzky uses a full palette of vocal hues to tell stories about the human condition.
With the perfect partnership of Juliane Ruf, Müller takes the listener on a voyage of discovery throughout thirty-two songs that range from the six Lieder in the Opus 107 of Schumann through both of Poulenc’s La courte paille and Fiancailles pour rire, and on through Zemlinky’s Six Waltz Songs.
Müller’s lyric voice is pristine, flawlessly on pitch, effortlessly produced, and never-ever pushed past its limits: those of a light lyric soprano with a bell-like upper-range and a warm, supple middle voice. In art song volume is a non-issue but I hasten to mention that at the end of Zemlinzky’s cycle Müller puts out a healthy amount of sound in the closing song.
Her German being her first language is supple and not pedantic, her French that of a native speaker. Her way with the sensuality of Poulenc’s Violon is as inviting as a real seduction, and her summoning of the ethereal in Fleurs a thing of wonder. Her depiction of the mix of emotions in Schumann’s Meine Rose is as memorable as any interpretation of this gem in memory.
The 2020 Pentatone issue of great songs by a heretofore lesser-known artist (to Americans) is perfectly engineered by Martin Sauer and exquisitely produced by Renaud Loranger, both factors that will no doubt help introduce Hanna-Elisabeth Müller to the wider public she so richly deserves.
Rafael de Acha http://www.RafaelMusicNotes.com