Maarten Koningsberger, baritone
Olga Franssen, fifth bass guitar, transcription
Esther Steenbergen, guitar
Maarten Koningsberger is one of the leading baritones of the Netherlands and has sung with orchestra’s all over the world. He has built a great reputation as a recitalist and made numerous CD recordings, among which are recordings with Les Arts Florissants and the Hyperion Schubert Edition with Graham Johnson.
Olga Franssen was a founding member of the Amsterdam Guitar Trio with which she premiered dozens of new works. Besides playing the guitar she also works as an arranger as proves die schöne Müllerin of which she made the transcription for two guitars.
Esther Steenbergen is internationally renowned both as soloist and ensemble player and is recognized for her fresh approach to the repertoire. She works as a soloist, in ensembles and as an accompanist of singers and instrumentalists. Occasionally she takes part in theater productions.
In 2003 the Koningsbergertrio recorded die schöne Müllerin on CD including a bonus CD with Schubert’s Arpeggione, performed on two guitars. Since it’s release the trio performed their version of die schöne Müllerin many, many times, all over the world.
Schubert and the guitar
Schubert must have been using the guitar while composing Die schöne Müllerin (The Fair Miller’s daughter). The score is idiosyncratic to the guitar: the movement in the right- as well as the left-hand of the piano part, and the seemingly perfect fit to the six-stringed instrument cannot be a mere coincidence.
One explanation might be that die schöne Müllerin was mostly written in 1823 when Schubert was in hospital, suffering from a disease which would ultimately prove to be fatal. It is sensible to assume that under such circumstances he would more likely have a guitar rather than a piano at his disposal.
…Creating a splendid version which concerning transparency, warmth and color wealth, exceeds a lot of versions for the piano. Het Parool
…Instead of the usual piano accompaniment, here is a guitar duo, with fabulous results … the three musicians are magnificent … they embody the delicate nuances of the true song interpreter. Klassieke Klanke
…The timing is excellent. It appears as though only one instrument is playing and even as if Koningsberger is playing it himself. So flexibly does the voice adapt to the strings and visa versa. De Volkskrant
…After the final song, while the audience tries to come to terms with the tragic fate of the young miller, you could hear a pin drop. Tubantia.
The complete song cycle consists of 20 songs, a full concert with intermission.
The song cycle is based on poems by Johann Müller (1794 – 1827), telling the story of the young apprentice who falls in love with the millers daughter. She flirts with the hunter and the naive, disappointed youngster seeks and finds comfort with the brook, his best friend and final destiny.
Listening to die schöne Müllerin without noticing Schubert’s beautiful translation of the story into a score is truly a missed opportunity. With a selection of songs from this beautiful song cycle Maarten Koningsberger illustrates, sings and explains, in what could be called a concert college.
Choir director Hein Franssen composed a beautiful version for chamber choir and children’s choir as an addition to the Koningsbergertrio version of die schöne Müllerin.