Last update: 06-12-2016

Franz Schubert
Die schöne Müllerin
The facts about the records


The renewed website
Schubert's Lieder cycle Die schöne Müllerin was composed in the winter 1823-1824, its age approaches 200 years. This great age implicates in no way, as it does for countless other musical compositions, an obstacle to enchant millions of people in the 21st century. The cycle is very dear to singers (male and female) all over the World; this is also proved by the continuous stream of new recordings.
Nine years ago I published a discography of the 131 recordings that I knew at that moment; this number grew to about 211 in 2012, most new ones but also some older ones that I learned about after 2003.

My love for DsM - my first recordings
Why this discography? Because I love Lieder, especially those of Franz Schubert, and the Die schöne Müllerin (‘the fair maid of the mill') cycle takes a special place in my mind. My first love concerned a 45 rpm record with Heinrich Schlussnuss singing Schubert Lieder. In 1968 I bought my first recording of Die schöne Müllerin, the Electrola LP from Rudolf Schock and Gerald Moore (Some years earlier, I borrowed already a LP of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau). Later on followed recordings of Georg Jelden on audiocassette (for playing in the car...) and my first CD was a recording, sung by Peter Schreier with Peter Zehr on fortepiano.
Die schöne Müllerin played a special role in my life - listening to this music can serve me as a source of consolation even resignation. Sometimes life asks for it.

A man is a collector, one says; well, I am also - a little one. In face of my retirement I started in 1999 to create a list of recordings; at that time I had collected about 10 to 15 recordings. Nowadays, the list contains over 210 (commercial) recordings of which I own over 200, most originals. And of course, I am in search for the rest...
I hope that the information, contained in this Website, is valuable for other lovers of this marvelous music!

To share the collection via this Website
One important aspect of my collection is the documentation of each recording. Surfing on the Worldwide Web, you can find sites including the detailed description of the recordings of one composition (i.e. Beethoven's Eroica symphony) or the recordings of (a part of) the work of one composer (i.e. Anton Bruckner). From that moment on I knew what I had to do with my collected information.

The fact sheets

A factsheet of each recording
I have developed a format that permitted me to describe each recording on one page. The description exists of two parts: one about the artists and the performance (the ‘software') and one about the LP or CD (the ‘hardware').

Information on artists and performance

  • Singers name - internet link
  • voice type - age in the year of recording
  • year and country of birth
  • instrumentalists name - instrument details
  • language in which the cycle is sung - version (details if mentioned)

about the versions: one can distinguish at least: 1. Sauer & Leidesdorf (1823) 2a. Diabelli (1830) 2b. Diabelli with additions by Vogl 3. Peters (from 1884, ed. Max Friedlaender) 4. Breitkopf & Haertel (ed. Mandyczewski) 5. Baerenreiter (ca. 1975 Neue Schubertausgabe, ed. Walter Dürr); in the fact sheets the version is indicated if known.

  • total duration of the 20 Lieder - time of each Lied (omitted verses are indicated)

General information LP/cassette/CD/DVD/YouTube

  • Label - code - technique used - Stereo/Mono
  • date and location of recording; producer - engineer
  • booklet details - song texts incl. languages
  • supplementary recorded
  • other releases of the same recording
  • reviews as far as known to me; USA: Fanfare, UK: Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine, Penguin Yearbook and Germany: FonoForum
  • a copy of the cover

New sources
In the year 2005 the World Wide Web was enriched with the website YouTube. Nowadays, seven years later, this site comprises a wealth of recording of all thinkable music. Including several complete recordings of Die schöne Müllerin. Also other websites present, with or without pictures recordings of the cycle. Several recordings that can be downloaded are in my opinion of sufficient interest to mention in this Discography. The recordings of well-known commercial released recordings on YouTube are only indicated in the factsheets.

Key figures of the collection

1. Voices

Die schöne Müllerin is written by Schubert for tenor voice; it was his own voice type and added to that, the position of the piano part is already low (see for instance the pianist Irwin Gage in an interview with Werner Pfister in 1997: "ginge es nach mir, sollte die ‘Schone Müllerin' nur von Tenören gesungen werden, weil die Klavierbegleitung eh schon sehr tief notiert ist": ‘as for me, the cycle had only to be sung by tenors because the piano accompaniment is already very low ‘). Nevertheless singers with other voices were attracted to these Lieder from the beginning and transposed versions are wide spread. The halve of all recordings is sung by a tenor:

Voicetype Number of recordings %
Tenor 101 49
Countertenor 1 0,5
Baritone 80 39
Bass / Bass-bariton 14 6,5
Boysoprano 1 0.5
Soprano 5 2,5
Mezzosprano / contralto 4 2
Total 206 100

2. Ages

The (tenor-) cycle tells the story of a young miller apprentice and therefore it is always interesting to learn how this fact can be found in the interpretation. Personally, I like to know the age of the singer and in the next table is shown how it is in the recorded cycles. Nevertheless in over 25 of the 205 recordings the year of birth of the singer, the year of recording or both are unknown. After 9 years the number of singers over 50 increased from 16% to 25%

Age Number % cumulative
≤20 1 0,5 1
20-24 2 1 3
25-29 10 6 13
30-34 22 12 35
35-39 37 20 72
40-44 38 20 110
45-49 30 16 140
50-59 23 12,5 163
60-69 19 10 182
> 70 3 2 185
unknown 21 -- 206

3. Accompanists and their instruments

In an interview on German radio, András Schiff said in 1997 that he hates the word accompanist: the piano player has an equal role as the singer in this music. Despite this statement, from the players of the instrumental part, I only give the name and, as exact as can be traced, the information on the instrument.
Schubert wrote the cycle for tenor voice and fortepiano (Hammerklavier), the state-of-the-art of piano playing ± 1820. Also editions appeared with guitar. Today the modern piano is frequently used, but also the older alternatives are well represented.
From the 211 recordings considered, the instrument is:

Instrument Number
Piano 172
Fortepiano 27
Gitaar 8
Piano solo (begeleiding) 3
Trombone 1
Total 211

4. Instrumentalists accompanying more than one recording

Gerald Moore and Graham Johnson are represented both five times; the complete numbers are:
      14 accompaniers who play with two or more different singers
       7 accompaniers who recorded two times with the same singer

Accompanier Singer Accompanier Singer
Buchbinder, Rudolf Krenn, Werner Johnson, Graham Bostridge, Ian
  Schade, Michael   Hill, Martyn
Demus, Jörg Fischer-Dieskau, Dietrich   Kohn, Ralph
  Holzmair, Wolfgang   Kutschera, Engelbert
  Koenig, Fernand   Maltman, Christopher
    Kende, Levente Vandersteene, Zeger 2 opnames
Deutsch, Helmut Kaufmann, Jonas    
  Protschka, Josef Kobayashi, Michio Haefliger, Ernst
  Skovhus, Bo   Nakayama, Teiichi
Eschenbach, Christoph Fischer-Dieskau, Dietrich Moore, Gerald Fischer-Dieskau, Dietrich; 3 opnames
  Goerne, Matthias   Schiøtz, Axel
      Schock, Rudolf
Foll, Ferdinand Duhan, Hans Raucheisen, Michael Ludwig, Walther
  Schmedes, Paul   Patzak, Julius
Garben, Cord Blochwitz, Hans-Peter Schiff, András Fischer-Dieskau, Dietrich
  Komatsu, Hidenore   Schreier, Peter
Gees, Michael Prégardien, Christoph 2 opnames Shetler, Norman Lorenz, Siegfried
      Schreier, Peter
Giesen, Hubert Ludwig, Walther    
  Wunderlich, Fritz 3 opnames Stolze, Kurt Heinz Wunderlich, Fritz 2 opnames
Gothoni, Ralf Hynninen, Jorma; 2 opnames    
    Ulanovsky, Paul Lehmann, Lotte
Hokanson, Leonard Prey, Hermann 2 opnames   Singher, Martial
Jansen, Rudolf Schmidt, Andreas 2 opnames Walker, Nina Gehrman, Shura 2 opnames

5. The numbers

Until now, in the history of recorded music, the number of recordings of the complete cycle Die schöne Müllerin reaches over 210. The first complete shellac recording was probably sung by Franz Navall on the label Odeon, October 1909. At least a number of 23 singers brought out more than one different recording.

It seems clear that from about 1985, the increase of the number is related to the introduction of the CD.

Distributed over a period of 100 years, I count the following numbers of complete recordings:

Period Number % Number cumulative
1909-1950 11 5 11
1950-1959 16 8 27
1960-1969 11 5 38
1970-1979 25 12 63
1980-1989 29 14 92
1990-1999 56 27 148
2000-2009 56 27 204
2011- > 7 2 211
Total 211 100 211