Die schöne Müllerin
David Behnke, baritone
David Rhoderick, piano
Sunday, January 14th, 2024
West Tisbury Congregational Church
A suggested donation of $20
can be made at the door
Live Streaming will be available
on the church website.
Join MVCMS for a performance of Franz Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin.
Die Schöne Müllerin was completed in early 1824 when Schubert was 26 years old, so today’s performance marks the lovely maiden’s 200th anniversary and she is as ravishing as ever. Based on the poems of Wilhelm Müller, it is the first of his two seminal song cycles (the other being Die Winterreise). The twenty songs tell the story of a young man who falls in love with the miller’s beautiful daughter, but who’s love remains unrequited. As he wanders through the countryside, his mood shifts from cheerful optimism through exultant hope, before finally descending into deep despair. Throughout his journey, the gentle brook is the youth’s constant companion and confident. Whether the brook tries to lead him to happiness, lures him to his death, or is simply a passive observer is left ultimately unresolved by Schubert. But the exquisite beauty of the music is never in doubt. Throughout the work, the voice and piano share equally in the expression of the poetry’s emotions, with the piano providing a lush sonic background of nature’s sounds to accompany the young man’s emotions. The cycle opens when the young man comes upon the Brook and follows it to a mill where he instantly falls in love with the miller’s daughter. As the work progresses, he repeatedly tries to impress her, but she remains indifferent to his entreaties. Slowly hope youthful infatuation fades into resignation. The cycle ends with a gentle lullaby by the Brook, who sings the boy to his eternal sleep after he drowns himself to end his sorrow.
About the Artists
David Behnke is a graduate of the Master’s Degree Opera Program at the Yale School of Music. He subsequently received a fellowship for study at the Paris Conservatory of Music, was a winter of the Boston Opera Company Young Artist Auditions, performed as a resident artist with the Tri Cities Opera Company, as well as with music festivals across New England. After a 30-year hiatus on Wall Street, after moving to Martha’s Vineyard full-time in 2013 he has been a frequent performer on the island in repertoire spanning opera, oratorio, lieder, art song and Broadway. Along with David Rhoderick, he has presented a series of concerts exploring the major 19th Century German Lieder Cycles for the MVCMS. He directs and performs regularly with the Wicked Good Musical Revue at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse. David also maintains an active voice teaching studio.
David Rhoderick is a Fellow of the Royal Schools of Music (FRSM). He was formerly Music Director and Organist at the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury and the Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs, and has deputized at other local churches and in Connecticut. David studied piano with David Lloyd in the UK, organ with Douglas Steele, Ronald Heys and Dame Gillian Weir, and participated in a conducting masterclass with Sir Adrian Boult and Vernon Handley. He was awarded an organ scholarship at Glasgow University, Scotland, and then went on to Clare College, Cambridge University, where he sang in the Clare College Chapel Choir and graduated with an MA in Natural Sciences and Computer Science. David recently earned a Master of Arts in Music with Distinction at the UK's Open University with a dissertation on Music in the Time of COVID-19: The Adequacy of Networked Music Performance.
Die schöne Müllerin (1823/24), Franz Schubert (1797–1828)
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