Brahms: Alto Rhapsody; Lieder

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WORKS: Alto Rhapsody; Lieder
PERFORMER: Christa Ludwig (mezzo-soprano), Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone), Edith Mathis (soprano), Peter Schreier (tenor), Daniel Barenboim, Karl Engel (piano); Vienna Singverein,Vienna PO/Karl Böhm
CATALOGUE NO: 439 441-2 ADD/DDD (1975-83)
This compilation opens up a revealing cross-section of both Brahms as a composer and of great Lieder performances between 1975 and 1983. The first impression is of the breadth of resonance in the orchestral playing of the Alto Rhapsody; Christa Ludwig is an isolated yet compassionate observer of Brahms’s lonely winter wanderer. Eleven Lieder are recorded by Fischer-Dieskau with Daniel Barenboim in 1983, during his last decade of singing and when he was still discovering the stimulus of new accompanists. Both performances and recording here are a little dry compared with the radiant and fierce freedom Edith Mathis and Peter Schreier, still in their prime, bring to 13 of Brahms’s German folksongs. Hilary Finch