Zum Konzert am 23. Oktober 1968 in New York


New York Times, 24. Oktober 1968 

MAHLER SONGS SUNG BY FISCHER-DIESKAU

Mahlerís "Kindertotenlieder" are so unbearably poignant that even the quiet, peaceful closing measure cannot dispel the sense of anguish that has gone before.

These "Song on the Death of children" seemed to hold more pathos that ever in a performance given last night by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in a New York Philharmonic concert under the direction of Leonard Bernstein. Bariton, conductor and orchestra sustained the emotional pitch of the cycle of five songs with an intensity that was unforgetable.

It is possible to pinpoint the way Mr. Fischer-Dieskau communicates mood and meaning the soft sweetness of a phrase about a childís radiance; the despairing defiance as the father insists that the day is fine while he pretends that his dead child is merely out walking; the catch of breath remembering the childís eyes. What cannot be analyzed is the singerís sense of total involvement in the music as if he were expressing emotion for the first time. But then he is a great artist.

The orchestral score, as delicate as chamber music yet requiring a full symphonic ensemble, had all the expressive detail in performance one has come to associate with Mr. Bernsteinís Mahler interpretations, geared to match the soloists intentions. The performance, unfortunately, will be given only once again, on Monday. Also on the program were Haydnís Symphony No. 87 in A and Berliozís "Symphony fantastique", repeated from earlier programs of the season.

Raymond Ericson

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