Paul Lewis performed all the Beethoven piano sonatas on tour in the USA and Europe between the 2005 and 2007 seasons, in parallel with his complete recording of the cycle for Harmonia Mundi. His interpretation of the Lizst sonata was distinguished by the prestigious Edison Award, while his recording of the complete Beethoven sonatas received two Gramophone Awards in 2008.
Schubert's Winterreise offers what likely is the darkest, most tormented, aesthetically and emotionally compelling journey in the repertoire of Romantic song-cycles. Any singer who takes it on (most often baritones, but frequently tenors and occasionally a female voice) must make the effort to immerse himself in Wilhelm Müller's poetry and Schubert's magnificently moody, unreservedly honest representation of its darkly human sentiment.
Following their exceptional Winterreise and now this equally fine Die schone Mullerin, 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.
The darkly lit cover photo may convey some of the desolation of Franz Schubert's Schwanengesang, but to appreciate the full range of emotions of this posthumous song cycle – which shift from the hopeful passion of Liebesbotschaft and the giddiness of Frühlingssehnsucht to the heartbreak of Ihr Bild and the horror of Der Doppelgänger – listen to this exceptional Harmonia Mundi release by tenor Mark Padmore and his accompanist, pianist Paul Lewis.