Ian Bostridge's second recording of Die Schöne Müllerin marks the start of his collaboration with the great pianist Mitsuko Uchida. The sleeve-notes, by Bostridge himself, open with a huge quote from Freud before arguing that the song cycle "plumbs the psychoanalytic depths, speaking of sex and death in a way few other works have managed". All this is highly appropriate for a work that is often seen as an exercise in pastoral, but which is actually a study of how self-destructive passion can lead to suicide.
Unfortunately the performance doesn't deliver what it promises. There is little doubt as to Bostridge's commitment, and he is impressive in moments of naivety and despair. The thin tone of his voice precludes eroticism, however, while there are passages of shocking strain, particularly in Ungeduld. Uchida's playing is flawless in subtlety and insight, but the whole thing doesn't cohere. A disappointment.