Schumann: Liederkreis Op 39; Kerner-Lieder Op 35, Fischer-Dieskau/ Weissenborn/ Klust

4 stars (Audite) Andrew Clements

Friday July 27, 2007 Guardian

In his long career, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau recorded Schumann's Op 39 Liederkreis several times, including celebrated versions with Gerald Moore and Christoph Eschenbach as his accompanist, but the one included here has never been released before. It was made in 1955 in the studios of West German Radio in Cologne with GŁnther Weissenborn playing the piano; Fischer-Dieskau was then 29, and amazingly had already made two recordings of this cycle of settings of poems by Eichendorff, one of them his first with Moore. The voice is instantly recognisable, the range of dynamics and colour staggeringly wide, and the delivery lacks the self-conscious pointing of verbal meaning that became a feature of the baritone's later lieder singing. Alongside this wonderfully fresh account is Fischer-Dieskau's recording of Schumann's 12 settings of Justinus Kerner, made in the same studio 18 months earlier, and the first ever of the complete cycle. They are songs to which he returned repeatedly, and he captures their melancholy in a way that no other singer has quite managed.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007

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