Schumann: Dichterliebe; Frauenliebe und -leben

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COMPOSERS: Schumann
LABELS: DG
WORKS: Dichterliebe; Frauenliebe und -leben
PERFORMER: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone), Christoph Eschenbach (piano), Brigitte Fassbaender (mezzo-soprano), Irwin Gage (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 439 417-2 ADD/DDD (1979/85)
What better treat for the ‘wunderschönen Monat Mai’ than Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s classic performance of the Dichterliebe? But beware: knowing these performances makes it hard to settle for less. After a period away from them, listening to the cornucopia of excellent new recordings from the young generation of lieder singers, a return to Fischer-Dieskau is still a return to an unchanged and incomparable reference point. The weight, energy and direction of every word charges the musical line; and in 1979 the voice would do absolutely anything the mind and imagination commanded.

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Brigitte Fassbaender’s mellow and generous Frauenliebe und -leben is no less central to the catalogue: it comes from the viscera and goes straight to the heart. Hilary Finch