Zum Liederabend am 2. Mai 1955 in New York

New York Times, 3. Mai 1955 

Music: Fischer-Dieskau

Baritone Is Impressive in Town Hall Debut

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, the German baritone, making his debut at Town Hall last night, performed the considerable feat of holding his audienceís interest and close attention throughout Schubertís song-cycle, "Die Winterreise".

Not every singer, however gifted, is capable of this feat, especially in warm weather. Herr Fischer-Dieskau, in doing so, proved himself a vocalist of very unusual attainments.

He has the advantage of a voice of beautiful quality, admirably handled. It is essentially a lyric voice; the mezza-voce tones of the upper register have an almost tenorish texture.

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The mezza-voce is beautifully coordinated with the full-voice. Not once but many times last evening Herr Fischer-Dieskau demonstrated his mastery of the feat that Italians call "messa di voce," swelling a tone from half-voice to full-voice and back again.

A singer who has mastered this basic aspect of technique as a rule is baffled by few mechanical problems thereafter. Such mastery is not always found in a performer as young as Herr Fischer-Dieskau appears to be.

In addition, the baritone showed his thorough comprehension of the cycle in his sensitive, knowledgeable interpretations. His singing had genuine lyricism of a sort not often heard.

A shortcoming occasionally in evidence was that the tone became unsteady when sung at full voice. Such moments, however, were not numerous or conspicuous enough to mar the effect of the recital as a whole. The perfomance left no doubt that last nightís listeners were in the presence of a singing artist.

Herr Fischer-Dieskauís fame had preceded him via recordings, and a crowd that overflowed to the stage was on hand for the recital. Gerald Moore was the accompanist.

J. B.

 

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