After their triumph with Franz Schubert’s Winterreise in concert three years ago, it was only natural that baritone David Behnke and pianist David Rhoderick should set their sights on the composer’s earlier monumental song cycle: Die Schöne Mullerin (The Miller’s Lovely Daughter).

Presenting the work Sunday afternoon at the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury, the two Island musicians held their audience in thrall for more than an hour as the late-Romantic tale unfolded.

Like Winterreise, Die Schöne Mullerin is a story of youthful passion and despair, based on poems by Schubert contemporary Wilhelm Müller.

Published in 1824, the cycle’s 20 songs trace the wanderings ­— in both body and mind — of a young mill worker, who leaves home and loses his heart to a fickle maiden.

Mr. Behnke’s supple baritone and flawless German gave eager, ebullient voice to the narrator’s youthful energy and love-struck enthusiasm, taking on darker emotional tones as uncertainty, jealousy and hopelessness bore in.

From joy to heartbreak and beyond, Mr. Rhoderick was with him every step of the way. Schubert wrote the piano parts of his song cycles to be active participants in the storytelling, not just settings for the singer. In Die Schöne Mullerin, the piano often plays the role of the millbrook, the narrator’s frequent companion as it ripples in the sunshine or surges to turn the mighty wheels.

At the cycle’s end, both piano and singer express the voice of the brook as it tenderly sings a lullaby to the young lover, who has drowned himself in sorrow.

Sunday’s audience was deeply attentive throughout the concert, drawing a long collective breath at the end before exploding into applause and a long standing ovation.

“That brought a tear to my eye,” one listener told another as they rose to leave.

In opening remarks before the performance, Mr. Behnke told the audience that he had first sung Die Schöne Mullerin more than 50 years ago, as an undergraduate at Yale.

Mr. Behnke also said that the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society was sponsoring Sunday’s concert as part of its new year-round initiative.

“We’re going to have something going on all the time, every month,” he said.