Ferenc Fricsay died at only 48 years of age suffering a death from illness that was as tragic as it was untimely. Even though Fircsay s career as a recording artist barely lasted 12 years, almost every connoisseur of Classical music considers him a legend, the epitome of the enlightened master conductor, who was good at everything he touched, a role model for figures like Abbado or Harnoncourt. The sleek and slender aspects of Ferenc Fricsay s conductorial style paved the way for many facets of what we consider informed conducting today, especially in Mozart, and he still (almost) equalled Furtwängler in transcendental romanticism when it suited the music.
During the short timespan that he had as a recording artist, between 1949 and 1961, Fricsay, besides his many other obligations, managed to make an abundance of records for Deutsche Grammophon, now amounting to an incredible number of 82 fully packed CDs. And, as critics then and now have pointed out, he made every single record count, especially when he knew that he had little time. The Fricsay recording that wasn t great still has to be pointed out. One can only wonder what this genius would have achieved had he lived longer.