Schubert, Schumann &
(baritone), Christa Ludwig (mezzo), Fritz Wunderlich (tenor) and Jessye Norman
445 188-2 62'24"
This is a choice selection of recordings dating from 1965 to 1982 by some
of the greatest singers of the era, all in finest voice. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
leads off with Erlkonig, which gives its title to the collection.
There are four Schubert favourites and six by Schumann, with Gerald Moore,
Jorg Demus and Christoph Eschenbach as his partners. Fritz Wunderlich, who
died at 36, is represented by five more of Schubert's most popular songs,
Heidenroslein, To Music, The Trout and two from Die Schone Mullerin,
with pianist Hubert Giesen. The well-loved mezzo Christa Ludwig, with
Irwin Gage, contributes four more including Gretchen am Spinnrade.
Jessye Norman's tracks from 1981/82 are the most recent and she gives us
six Brahms songs including the Sapphic Ode.
The older tracks do not show their age in these excellent digital transfers.
The notes are by Alan Blyth, who knows as much about lieder as anyone, and
the use of thin, strong paper allows for legible printing of all the words
in four languages, in reasonably sized black print, which really should be
the norm nowadays. Detailed review of individual songs would be redundant.
Many of these interpretations are long famous and all are rewarding, besides
making a well-balanced hour of music if played straight through.
But, as if that were not enough, this is one of DG's special 'pluscore' releases
a mass of illustrations and background information about the composers, artists
and particular songs;
allows you to read and print out the scores and create your own edition with
phasing, dynamics and fingerings etc;
follow the music with a playback cursor;
and play or sing along, with one or other part silenced if you prefer, creating
a classical karaoke!
A technological treat for any musical internet surfer, needing no more than
a CD-ROM drive with 15 MB free on the hard disc.
Peter Grahame Woolf
See also on MotW, PGW's review of
Beethoven sonatas 11, 12 & 21 played by Pollini
DG 435 472-2