Wolf: Mörike Lieder

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LABELS: DG Galleria
WORKS: Mörike Lieder
PERFORMER: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone), Sviatoslav Richter (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 457 898-2 ADD Reissue (1973)
Compared to his 1957 recording of the Mörike songs with Gerald Moore (EMI), Fischer-Dieskau’s tone in this 1973 Innsbruck recital is a shade drier, his manner often that much more detailed and emphatic. Several of the songs are, if anything, still more searching than before: listen to Fischer-Dieskau’s rapt submissiveness at the end of ‘Der Genesene an die Hoffnung’, or the quiet ecstasy of ‘Auf einer Wanderung’, enhanced by the ideal clarity and delicacy of Richter’s accompaniment. Elsewhere, the older Fischer-Dieskau’s tendency to macho explosiveness can be disconcerting; and many will prefer a lighter, less self-conscious touch in the comic ‘Storchenbotschaft’. That said, there are many revelations. Confined to a single F-D version of the Mörike songs, I’d still go for the EMI two-disc set ahead of both this Innsbruck recital and his 1971-2 studio recordings with Barenboim. But many Wolf lovers will surely also want this vivid memento of one of the great Lieder partnerships. Richard Wigmore