PERFORMER: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone), Hartmut Höll (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CD 50-9118 DDD
Song writing was not an activity of central importance to Weber, as it was to his younger contemporary Schubert, but it was one to which he turned sporadically throughout his career. Many of his lieder are simple strophic songs in the folk style he exploited so vividly in his opera Der Freischütz. Others are more ambitious in scope, as well as emotionally more complex. Particularly fine are the restless ‘Sind es Schmerzen’, to a poem by Ludwig Tieck; and ‘Was zieht zu deinem Zauberkreise’, with its characteristic harmonic twist suggesting the spell of love which entraps the unwilling young man.
This recording was one of the very last Fischer-Dieskau made before he announced his retirement last year. The tone has, no doubt, lost some of its former security, and there are signs of strain at the top end of the range; but his artistry and musicianship remain undiminished. The variety and imagination Fischer-Dieskau can impart to the successive verses of a simple song such as ‘Der kleine Fritz’ are an object lesson to any aspiring lieder singer. Hartmut Höll is a sympathetic accompanist. Misha Donat