on April 21, 2004
This collection of the Goethelieder is genuinely the "gold standard" against which all others should be judged. I say this because not only have I heard the majority of the works by other baritones (and "Der Erlkonig" performed by two mezzo-sopranos): however, I've followed the vocal development of Fischer-Deskau from the earliest CD I could find (from an EMI CD containing Der Erlko"nig from 1951 according to the booklet's timeline--with Gerald Moore on piano.) Another recording dates from the mid 1960's (Erlko"nig, for example, dated as 1965--again, Gerald Moore, pianist.) However, when I heard this collection of Schubert's Goethelieder, I was entranced. Selections 1-14 feature Jo"rg Demus as pianist (with whom Fischer-Deskau formed a close professional and personal relationxhip) and Gerald Moore as pianist on selections 15-24. Fischer-Dieskau's "Heidenro"slien" is so good that even I play it over and over (although I've heard it so much...Fischer-Deskau gives it a beautiful rendition.) His "Erlko"nig" is such that he gets the four voices of the narrator, the child, the father, and the Erlko"nig so well it is astonishing. Gerald Moore also performs the initial ascending triplet figures on the left hand in paralell octaves so well that it sounds like one pianist is playing the right hand triplet figures whereas another pianist is using two hands to play the left parallel octaves!!
This is a MUST HAVE for Schubert/Fischer-Deskau/piano lovers!!
Five stars hands down and thumbs up!!!!!!!
on November 9, 2005
DG released this recording of Schubert lieder based on texts of Wolfgang von Goethe in the late 1990s. I bought it in 1999 on the strength of a review in AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, where the reviewer said "Fischer-Dieskau could do it all" - an apt description. Keep in mind that many of these tracks are with pianist Jorg Demus, and are not the same as those in Fischer-Dieskau's 2 big DG boxes (9 disc each) of Schubert Lieder, which are with pianist Gerald Moore.
These recordings date from the late 1950s and early 1960s when Fischer-Dieskau (b. 1925), was in his mid 30s, and in great shape vocally, performing lieder and opera all over Europe, + prolifically making recordings for EMI and DG which were released on LP in the US and Europe.
This is a valuable disc for those wanting a sampling of Schubert lieder, or a sampling of Fischer-Dieskau and aren't interested in collecting all of F-D's recordings, or all the Schubert lieder. The sound is stereo, and is very good: vivid and life like. Even though these were recorded 45+ years ago, I feel Mr. Fischer-Dieskau right in the room with me when listening to these. The last several tracks are with Gerald Moore, pianist, Fischer-Dieskau's long time collaborator on lieder of many composers.
Schubert's sound world is a different, more intimate one than Beethoven, his contemporary. The lieder Schubert set with texts of Wolfgang von Goethe are among his most famous and for good reason: they are among his most inspired works. Listening to these lieder, one can get away from the rat race, from our high tech, cold, mechanical, materialistic world, and have a great musical/spiritual experience. Thank you: Deutsche grammophon for releasing this, and thank you, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau for sharing your great talent with the world! Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau can do it all, to which this disc attests.
on January 25, 2013
If you're into "Lieder", Goethe poems and Franz Schubert, you'll enjoy this CD tremendously. One of my favoties on this CD - "Erlkoenig", a haunting tune I still remember from my youth. Fischer-Dieskau was known for his beautiful recitals, many critics and fans rated him as the best. He certainly does not disappoint with this one. I have not actually listened to the whole CD yet as Amazon uploaded it to my Cloud player, where I could hear all those wonderful Lieder before my CD even arrived. A very nice feature, by the way. Thanks, Amazon!
There are not enough stars available in this reviewing system to award to this disc: there are hardly enough stars in the sky for that. 24 songs give us 76 minutes of music in recordings dating from 1960 to 1970. ‘Added presence and brilliance, greater spatial definition’ are boasted of on the back of the box, and the sound suits me fine, although I can tell that it has been enhanced here and there, particularly in the Erlking’s first short song, seemingly pushed back into the near distance in a way that I don’t remember from the 45rpm EP that I have owned since 1960 or thereabouts. Very effective, I guess, even if a little blatant, with the evil phantom advancing nearer to the child when he sings his next stanza.
What is hardly capable of enhancement is the voice of Fischer-Dieskau. Franzpeter Messmer in his liner note (not a bad one) goes into raptures over this great voice, and I shall neither quote him nor add to what he says in that respect because, valid as it all is, it still has to be a string of platitudes and you could make them up for yourself. How does one describe perfection with any originality? There is an aura of sheer greatness surrounding this production. First the poetry is celestial – simple, beautiful and deeply affecting. Its quality comes over even in translation, but the German is not hard to follow or appreciate even if one is a bit halting with it, as I am myself. Then there is the artistry of the performers, not just Fischer-Dieskau but his two accompanists (the word is still used here) Joerg Demus and Gerald Moore. These days the cult of absolute technical perfection, despised by Michelangeli who started it in the first place, would no doubt add a level of polish to their work, but it would be polish I could do without. These players’ sense of the composer’s mind heart and soul would not be so easy to equal, and they are no slouches technically in any case. Demus had me whooping with delight at the way he led off Der Musensohn so exuberantly, and it seems that this kind of rhythmic drive was something that Fischer-Dieskau himself admired particularly in Moore’s work. Well, there is one song where this is a prime requirement, Erlkoenig. This performance is, or should be, legendary. Moore’s delivery of the notorious drumming triplets is perfectly paced and self-assured, and when the galloping rhythm recedes into the background for the fiend to whisper his blandishments to the child it loses nothing of its pace before flaring up dramatically as the boy cries out in panic. In one of his books Moore explains how he makes some of it easier by splitting the octaves between his hands, but has to admit that right at the end there is nothing for it but to give it everything and hope for the best. Indistinct? Sure, but so what? Panic has overtaken the father now, he is spurring his horse on furiously and the drama of it all is colossal.
This is to focus on the most spectacular song of the 24, but as well as differentiating the four separate voices in Erlkoenig Fischer-Dieskau can mould his tone and expression in every way that his music and his texts call for. Am Flusse is only two short, though heartbreaking, stanzas in length but the slight and yet huge difference between them in the singer’s tone is something else that ought to be noted even within the restricted compass of a 1000-word review. However the prevalent tone of these songs is the tone prevalent in Schubert’s Lieder generally, the sense of early hope followed by hopeless loss. Schubert did not attain even half of the threescore years and ten that the scripture gives a man leave to expect. The sense that he had not achieved his potential is a sense that comes across to many, but what is not, in my opinion, emphasised enough even yet is just what this potential seems to have amounted to. The beauty, innocence and pathos are everywhere in his output, but there is a formidable power as well that glimmers through unpredictably. It is something that I don’t find in Beethoven even at his colossal greatest, a kind of inspiration that I cannot even remotely relate to. Brahms in a letter somewhere asks whether any other composer consistently scaled the heights in the way that Schubert did, and I wonder whether he meant something near what I mean. Richard Strauss once said of Mozart that he is so beautiful that we forget that he is powerful. I’ll second that, but even Mozart, for me, has to be one step behind Schubert. This is not a case I would wish to argue, because it is a matter of perceptions where argument does not belong. However this disc is one place where sympathetic ears might hear, from a toweringly great singer, a little of what it is that I seem to sense about the composer.
"Erlkonig" is worth the price of the CD, and Fischer-Dieskau sings well throughout. His ability to marry line with expressive attention to the text is something to marvel at -- a quality found in singers of the highest caliber. Callas and Janet Baker come to mind as equally compelling in that regard. I have some reservations about the sound, however, and they were focused for me by comparing the F-D/Demus "Winterreise" with the F-D/Demus pairing on tracks 1-14 on this CD. These were recorded in 1959 (about six years before "Winterreise"), and Fischer-Dieskau is too much to the fore in the aural picture, and Demus sounds a bit bloodless and clattery in the background: the sound flatters neither one. The final ten tracks were done at later sessions (with Gerald Moore as pianist), and the balance is far better. Just compare, say, "Grenzen des Menschheit" from the late 1960's with "Ganymed" from 1959. Moore's piano gets a much fairer shake, and the singer sounds better too -- though he might have been in better voice too. "Erlkonig" is from the later sessions, and it's stunning. And yet, if you listen to, say, "Wandrers Nachtlied II" from 1959, you realize that the singing as such is fine -- it's the balance that's slightly off. So -- the loss of the fifth star is no reflection on the musicians.
I should add that I listen with decent Bose headphones. It's possible that with a good system and good speakers, what bothers me might be less noticeable.
on June 4, 2011
Songs of a legendary composer and lyricist by one of the best singers ever. Definitely worth hearing. Also received quickly and in fine condition, which is typical for Amazon.
on June 11, 2015
How can you beat Goethe, Schubert or Fischer-Dieskau? You can't and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau was the greatest interpretor.
on April 25, 2015
absolutely classic. Voices like that are wery reare.
on May 12, 2012
Are you one of those people who carry critical analysis books of Keats, or reads Leaves of Grass, or can recite fully at least one poem with emotion? Well lieder is for you. Search the original text, and follow along as the singer recites poetry on top of Schubert's awesome music. It's a fun hobby, and I encourage any of you to give it a try.
Poetry 4.5/5 (The German can throw some people off)
on September 4, 2011
When I received this album,it was mailed by a very big package,I know it is safety-belt,but this disc was only middleshaped!
And I must said this album is high quality ,better price than amazon.de ,but equal quality!
I was wandering why amazon.com would offer a very reasonable price than amazon.de?
It might because of it is too popular in Deutschland ,and only a few people would like it in USA!
I heard of Mr.Schubert is very naive man ,similar with Mozart,but I must say he is not so simple minded and his music is very gloomy!He could be naive and joyful,but,not childlike!
I buy this album,mainly because of Goethe's lyric,and I am very happy this edition was added with his beautiful Lied.I think Goethe's poems is very romantic and deep,so dose Fischer-Dieskau's tone,besides,their "pure" is one of the essential elements of German's classical art!
One day,I tried to sleep with this album,at beginning,it was soft and peaceful,but next moment,it became strong and tough----it was a sleepless night!