Zum Liederabend am 29. März 1967 in New York

New York Times, 30. März 1967

Fischer-Dieskau And Moore Excel

Baritone Sings Beethoven at Pianist’s Last Time Here

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s third and final Carnegie Hall program last night gave the capacitiy audience a rare and massive dose of Beethoven songs, which are seldom heard singly, much less in an entire recital. But the underlying, if understated, theme was that this would be Gerald Moore’s last appearance here as a pianist.

Mr. Moore’s musical career has been well documented, and last year’s rumors of his impending retirement caused some anguish. He has been the First Lord of the Piano to just about every major contemporary singer, and has raised the art of accompanying from that of a train-bearer to that of a consort.

It was Mr. Fischer-Dieskau who persuaded the 67-year-old Englishman to make the trip here for these concerts before leaving the platform. Mr. Moore has said he will continue to record, an activity which has produced many superb albums of Schubert, Schumann, Brahms and Wolf lieder.

Carefully Chosen Program

Mr. Moore was in good form for the Beethoven songs. The singer and the pianist chose well, and came up with two cycles; the Six Gellert Songs (Op. 48) and "An die ferne Geliebte" (Op. 98), and a cycle of Goethe songs concocted of Nos. 1 und 2 of Op. 83, No. 4 of Op. 52 and Nos. 2 and 3 of Op. 75.

The high point for this listener was the touching rendition of Beethoven’s sweetest - and in some ways most spontaneous - song, "Adelaide."

There was much to admire in all the performances, especially the word coloration Mr. Fischer-Dieskau lavishes on his phrases and his wide range of dynamics and attacks.

But Beethoven, the great dramatist and architect, the painter of monumental proportions, has a tendency to overfill song forms. The settings suggest operatic scenes (one thinks of Weber), but opera fails to develop. The works are carefully calculated, concise and even daring. But - to speak frankly - few of Beethoven’s songs really sing.

The performers’ approach was romantic. Rhythmic freedom was stressed over the building of momentum and, in the context of these highly problematic works, it may have been the best approach.

Judging from the audience’s reaction, this Beethoven was a complete success. Cheers and thunderous applause erupted as Mr. Fischer-Dieskau would embrace Mr. Moore at the conclusion of a piece.

And it must be said that these performances were probably the best that have ever been heard of the Beethoven and possibly even the best that will be. They concluded a brilliant series of recitals and closed a long and distinguished career. Well done, Mr. Moore.

Howard Klein


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