So the hero of Die schöne Müllerin, the young itinerant whose spurned love for “the fair maid of the mill” sends him to a watery grave, is a countertenor? He was, at least, on Monday night when Iestyn Davies, with Julius Drake superb at the piano, mounted his first public assault on Schubert’s great song cycle.
By themselves the score’s notes and pitches are amply suited to Davies’s vocal register, although it’s fair to question if falsetto piping, however skilled, allows access to all the colours possible with voices larger and deeper. At any rate, the result of Davies’s travails was an exquisitely delivered performance, but one that was emotionally timid at times. Maybe he just needs to live with the work longer.