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Romantic Songs
Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826)

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Hugo WOLF (1860-1903)
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone)
Hartmut Höll (piano)
Licensed from Claves and recorded between 1986 and 1991
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 92439 [5 CDs: 51.52 + 54.48 + 54.47 + 44.04 + 54.33]

Romantic Songs
Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826)

Meine Lieder, meine Sänge (Op. 15/1, W. Löwenstein-Wertheim)
Klage (Op. 15/2, Carl Müchler)
Der kleine Fritz (Op. 15/3, from "Fliegendes Blatt")
Was zieht zu deinem Zauberkreise (Op. 15/4, Carl Müchler)
Ich sah ein Röschen am Wege steh'n (Op. 15/5, Carl Müchler)
Er an Sie (Op. 15/6, Hofrat Lehr)
Meine Farben (Op. 23/1, Hofrat Lehr)
Liebe-Glühen (Op. 25/1, Friedrich Wilhelm Gubitz)
Über die Berge mit Ungestüm (Op. 25/2, August von Kotzebue)
Es stürmt auf der Flur (Op. 30/2, Friedrich Rochlitz)
Minnelied (Op. 30/4, Johann Heinrich Voss)
Reigen (Op. 30/5, Johann Heinrich Voss)
Sind es Schmerzen, sind es Freuden (Op. 30/6, Johann Ludwig Tieck)
Mein Verlangen (Op. 47/5, Friedrich Förster)
Wenn ich ein Vöglein wär' (Op. 54/6, Gedicht im Volksmunde)
Mein Schatzerl is hübsch (Op. 64/1, from "Fliegendes Blatt")
Liebesgruss aus der Ferne (Op. 64/4, from "Fliegendes Blatt")
Herzchen, mein Schätzchen (Op. 64/8, Gedicht im Volksmunde)
Das Veilchen im Thale (Op. 66/1, Friedrich Kind)
Ich denke dein (Op. 66/3, Friedrich von Matthisson)
Serenade (Jens Immanuel Baggesen)
Romanze: Sie war so hold (F. de Cussy/C.G. Grünbaum)
Recorded 27/28 March 1991, 11 September, Villa Lankwitz, Berlin, Germany
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)

Heliopolis, D754
Abendstern, D806
Nacht und Träume, D827
Des Sängers Habe, D832
Auf der Bruck, D853
Wanderer an den Mond, D870
Das Zügenglöcklein, D871
Am Fenster, D878
Im Frühling, D882
An Silvia, D891
Alinde, D904
An die Laute, D905
Der Kreuzzug, D932
Des Fischers Liebesglück, D933
Der Winterabend, D938
Die Sterne, D939
Recorded 1987
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)

Der Verlassene (anon.)
Ich weiss mir 'n Mädchen (anon.)
Mary's Dream (6 schottische Nationallieder No. 2)
We've a bonnie Wee Flower (6 schottische Nationallieder No. 3)
Minnelied in Mai (Op. 8/1, Ludwig Hölty)
Pilgerspruch (Op. 8/5, Paul Flemming)
Maienlied (Op. 8/7, Jacob von der Warte)
Im Grünen (Op. 8/11, Johann Heinrich Voss)
Abendlied (Op. 8/9, Johann Heinrich Voss)
Wartend (Op. 9/3, anon.)
Im Frühling (Op. 9/4, anon.)
Im Herbst (Op. 9/5, C. Klingemann)
Frühlingsglaube (Op. 9/8, Ludwig Uhland)
Das Schifflein (Op. 99/4, Ludwig Uhland)
Lieblingsplätzchen (Op. 99/3, Friederike Robert)
Altdeutsches Frühlingslied (Op. 86/6, Friedrich von Spee)
Minnelied (Op. 47/1, Ludwig Tieck)
Meerfahrt (Heinrich Heine)
Weiter, rastlos (anon.)
Frühlingslied (Op. 71/2, C. Klingemann)
Herbstlied (Op. 84/2, C. Klingemann)
Es weiss und rät es doch keiner (Op. 99/6, Joseph von Eichendorff)
Erntelied (Op. 8/4, Altes Kirchenlied)
Recorded June 1989 and March 1991, Villa Lankwitz, Berlin
Hugo WOLF (1860-1903)

Lieder aus der Jugendzeit nach Gedichten von Heine und Eichendorff
Aus meinen grossen Schmerzen
Sie haben heut'abend Gesellschaft
Ich stand in dunkeln Träumen
Mein Liebchen, wir sassen beisammen
Wenn ich in deine Augen seh
Das ist ein Brausen und Heulen
Mir träumte von einem Königskind
Es blasen die blauen Husaren
Es war ein alter König
Wo ich bin, mich rings umdumkelt
Ernst ist der Frühling
Mädchen mit dem roten Mündchen
Du bist wie eine Blume
Spätherbstnebel, kalte Träume
Mit schwarzen Segeln
Wie des Mondes Abbild zittert
Da fahr ich still im Wagen
Ich geh durch die dunklen Gassen
Wolken, wälderwärts gegangen
Recorded 1986, Stadthalle Feldkirch, Austria
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)

Beau soir (Paul Bourget)
Mandoline (Paul Verlaine)
Le jet d'eau (Charles Baudelaire, from "Cinq poemes de Baudelaire")
Cheveaux de bois (Paul Verlaine, from "Ariettes oubliées")
Green (Paul Verlaine, from "Ariettes oubliées")
Les cloches (Paul Bourget, "Deux Romances")
Dans le jardin (Paul Bourget, "Deux Romances")
La mer est plus belle (Paul Verlaine, "Trois Mélodies")
Le son du cor s'afflige (Paul Verlaine, "Trois Mélodies")
L'echelonnement (Paul Verlaine, "Trois Mélodies")
En sourdine ((Paul Verlaine, "Fetes galantes")
Clair de lune (Paul Verlaine, "Fetes galantes")
Fantoches (Paul Verlaine, "Fetes galantes")
Fleur des blés (André Girod)
Recueillement (Charles Baudelaire, from "Cinq poemes de Baudelaire")
De soir (Claude Debussy, "Proses lyriques")
Les ingénus (Paul Verlaine, "Fetes galantes")
La faune ((Paul Verlaine, "Fetes galantes")
Colloque sentimental (Paul Verlaine, "Fetes falantes")
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone)
Hartmut Höll (piano)
Recorded February 1988, Berlin

Licensed from Claves and recorded between 1986 and 1991 I’d not previously been aware of these examples of relatively late Fischer-Dieskau. The repertoire is essentially central to his art, though many will welcome the opportunity to hear his Debussy and an extended collection of Mendelssohn. Such however is the perception of his musicianship that, even when vocal compromises intrude, he is powerfully in command of the very different range of challenges facing him.

Such can be heard in his Weber disc – each composer has a disc each – when, with inimitable grace and subtle colouration, he spins Was zieht zu deinem Zauberkreise with such insidiously romantic impress or, in the folk settings he vests such rhythmic exactitude in, say, Über die Berge mit Ungestüm. He is joined in no small measure by Hartmut Höll whose effervescent pianistic hi-jinks irradiate the hurdy-gurdy exploits of Reigen. True, there are some limitations in matter of vocal production though even here he can make a virtue out of necessity - try Meine Lieder, meine Sänge for an example of his almost tenorial voice pushed inexorably deeper in the interests of theatrical scene setting. His Schubert is particularly fine when he deals with lyric simplicity and generosity; Nacht und Träume is especially touching despite the relative dissipation of the voice. Höll once more proves a perceptive accompanist- crisp in Auf der Bruck for instance where Fischer-Dieskau is in fuller voice. Together they make an authoritative case for their Der Kreuzzug. It would be unreasonable however to expect the same levels of insight and vocal accomplishment here that we know from his earlier traversals of this repertoire.

It’s only intermittently that I find his interventionist approach to the lyric too overbearing. I do find it in Mendelssohn’s Der Verlassene, for example, which sounds too mannered but it’s a treat to hear the two Scottish folk settings – his English is excellent, as one would expect (his speaking voice in English has a patrician warmth) and the Bonny Wee Flower doesn’t wilt in the face of his brogue. Elsewhere there is freshness in Pilgerspruch and, more strain acknowledged, a fine Herbstlied. The Wolf disc is one of the most important; few have been better equipped to deal with his Heine and Eichendorff settings than the baritone. It’s once more necessary to listen through the relative limitations of range and lack of mobility in these 1986 recordings. Those unsympathetic will note strain in Aus meinen grossen Schmerzen and intonational problems in Ich stand in dunkeln Träumen but they will also, in fairness, listen to some genuinely noble understanding of an often elusive art. Try the concise drama of Wie des Mondes Abbild zittert or the dramatic brittleness of Das ist ein Brausen und Heulen. In these examples Fischer-Dieskau and Höll prove masterful. The final disc gives us Debussy. Though recorded a couple of years later than the Wolf album the voice isn’t noticeably weaker; there’s strain of course, as in Les ingénues – a pity because he catches the hazy impressionism splendidly and his dynamic shading offers a master class in colouration and sensitivity to word setting. Mandoline is lightly done – the voice softened – and full of good rhythm. Cheveaux de bois and L'echelonnement are charismatically done and Le son du cor s'afflige is especially sensitive.

The various recording locations are not problematic. Texts are provided though there are no translations. Given that they are yoked together in this way the set of five discs may not appeal universally, though I should say that the budget price should overcome such scruples. Imperfect though some examples may be, these recordings bear the imprint of Fischer-Dieskau’s intensely personalised response to text, to nuance and to the repertoire.

Jonathan Woolf

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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