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Di Sheyne Milnerin - Schubert's cycle of love forlorn retold in Yiddish Song



This recording comprises a specially devised cycle of twenty songs from the Yiddish repertoire— only the second time a collection of Yiddish songs has been forged into a narrative cycle with a coherent dramatic trajectory. A stark contrast to Mark Glanville’s Holocaust-focused programme, A Yiddish Winterreise, it explores and reveals different aspects of the Yiddish tradition. As in Schubert’s original, Die schöne Müllerin (‘the beautiful miller girl’), from which it takes its name, it tells a story of unrequited love.

Di  Sheyne Milnerin - Schubert's cycle of love forlorn retold in Yiddish Song


‘Di Sheyne Milnerin’ is a follow up to the same artist’s ‘A Yiddish Winterreise’. Alexander Knapp and Mark Glanville have taken the essential story of Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin, namely that of unrequited love for a miller girl, but use traditional Yiddish folk songs and texts in highly effective arrangements, largely by Knapp (only ‘Am Feierabend’, translated as ‘Nokh der arbet’ (After work’), remains from the original Schubert cycle).

The aim of Glanville and Knapp is to present this comparatively unknown but highly attractive music in the style of the classical Lieder tradition. That their concept works so well is partly a tribute to the artists themselves, but also perhaps due to the ‘rich symbiosis that once existed between the German and Jewish cultures’, as they explain in the excellent essay contained in the booklet. There is a very appealing feeling of whimsy in the hero of the story, with the spirit of Don Quixote very much in evidence, giving each of the varied songs – which range from tragic emotion to humour – a certain colourful intensity and a thought-provoking ambiguity. The wealth of attractive melody found in these songs is very seductive indeed, with Glanville’s flamboyant approach to this repertoire, not always immaculate in execution but unfailingly characterful and full of personality, giving point to the words. In sum, anyone who enjoys the Lieder repertoire will relish this quirky and original twist on that art form.

Paul Czajkowski – International Record Review

This is all as heart-rending as the Schubert cycle and the music, though completely new to me, conveys the feelings just as graphically as Schubert’s does. Mark Glanville’s somewhat gritty bass-baritone is powerful and expressive and his straightforward approach is well attuned to the contents of the cycle. He is excellently supported by Alexander Knapp, whose playing is flexible and sensitive. I only wish the recording balance had been more generous to the singer. As it is, one gets the feeling that the piano is at the front of the stage while Mark Glanville is standing behind it. This is a fascinating issue and I urge readers to give it a try. It is music off the beaten track, but that’s where one often makes the real discoveries. Göran Forsling,, November 2012

...plenty to like here

What music is for absolutely everybody? Some children's collection of songs about farm animals, perhaps, but then you have to be five and you still might not like it. And so the same might apply in different ways for Di Sheyne Milnerin (Nimbis Alliance 6191). The album comprises a recital for Mark Glanville, bass-baritone, and Alexander Knapp, accompanying on piano, of a cycle of Yiddish art songs from the 19th-20th centuries. The music parallels Schubert's Die schone Mullerin, in that both song cycles tell the story of unrequited love. There is even a Yiddish lyric version of one of the songs from Schubert's cycle.

If you know Yiddish, all the better. If you do not, there is still much to appreciate. Glanville put together and sequenced the Yiddish cycle, choosing songs of Euro-Jewish composers both relatively known and more obscure. It is art song with some more in a typically minor key-Yiddish melodic mode than others. But all have interest.

'Glanville and Knapp do a spirited job with the songs and many have great appeal. It is a boon to those interested in a genre that does not always get much attention. I found plenty to like.' here. Grego Applegate Edwards, April 2013