ALBUM TITLE: Collection: The Mastersinger
WORKS: Songs & arias
PERFORMER: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone), various pianists, orchestras & conductors
CATALOGUE NO: 469 097-2 ADD Reissue (1961-78)
In the Sixties and Seventies, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau had carte blanche from DG to record virtually anything he wanted, including such unlikely roles as Gluck’s Orpheus. ‘Che farò’ is included here, alongside a couple of equally dubious Handel items. But there are many rewards elsewhere, including his engaging, highly strung Papageno – a thinking man’s birdcatcher – and his driven, demonic and, in the serenade, sensual Don Giovanni. Fischer-Dieskau was not by nature a Verdi baritone, but his Posa, Macbeth and, above all, his Rigoletto are full of characteristically subtle, specific insights, as are his compassionate Hans Sachs and his ardent Mandryka.
DG also throws in items from The Creation and Carmina burana, and a clutch of (mainly Schubert) Lieder. If Fischer-Dieskau never quite mustered the illusion of artlessness needed for ‘Heidenröslein’, he is mesmeric in ‘Der Frühling’ and predictably chilling in ‘Erlkönig’. Best of all is Mahler’s ‘Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen’ recorded with Böhm in 1963, a performance of unsurpassed inwardness and spirituality. Richard Wigmore