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Des Knaben Wunderhorn
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, George Szell
Des Knaben Wunderhorn
Genres: Pop, Classical
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

Of the concert performances in London that preceded the making of this recording in March 1968, the Guardian's Ted Greenfield wrote that "the two greatest Lieder singers in the world" were supported by "Britain's finest ...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, George Szell
Title: Des Knaben Wunderhorn
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: EMI Classics
Original Release Date: 1/1/1968
Re-Release Date: 3/14/2000
Genres: Pop, Classical
Styles: Vocal Pop, Opera & Classical Vocal, Historical Periods, Modern, 20th, & 21st Century
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 724356725621, 724356725652

Of the concert performances in London that preceded the making of this recording in March 1968, the Guardian's Ted Greenfield wrote that "the two greatest Lieder singers in the world" were supported by "Britain's finest orchestra under the conductor who has trained America's finest orchestra"--and this is still true. No surprise, then, that this rendition of the Wunderhorn songs has been a classic from the day it was made, and fittingly belongs in EMI's Great Recordings of the Century reissue series. It finds Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in stupendous form, hurling the words of "Revelge" out with an almost sadistic edge, and bringing an extraordinary range of emotion and nuance to half-a-dozen other songs, too. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was beginning to sound a bit matronly at this stage in her career--the bloom is off the voice, to be sure--but in her singing, too, the expressive pointing is as keen as ever. George Szell proves himself once again a master of Mahler's moods, eliciting a performance of amazing detail and clarity from the London players, and achieving just the right pace and emphasis in each piece. The recording, made in Kingsway Hall, is magnificent: glorious, well-balanced sound with tremendous immediacy, across a beautiful, wide sound stage. I have cherished the LP ever since it was released in 1969, but this remastering reveals a host of new and wonderful things that will make for pleasurable listening for another 30 years. --Ted Libbey

CD Reviews

An Outstanding Mahler CD By Outstanding Mahlerians!
Paul Rossi | Walla Walla, WA | 02/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I bought this CD about four years ago, and I had to sell it to pay off a debt. I listened to it some before I sold it, but then relistened to it later on record at a university I attended as a music student. The amazing performances of Fischer-Dieskau and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf are not to be missed. Neither is the superb, expressive conducting of George Szell.The CD is amazing. Fischer-Dieskau's rendition of "Revelge" is most impressive and leaves a powerful impression on the listener. He sings mournfully at times, and he also sings with ferocity and cynicism at times as well, his voice with its rich, golden tone. The orchestra plays with razor-sharp edges and precision for a most chilling effect. One can almost see the battlefield and the fallen soldiers.Elisabeth Schwarzkopf also delivers wonderfully. She sings with great expression, tenderness, mourning, and power. The "Mutter, Ach, Mutter" is very chilling. Schwarzkopf does an excellent job changing her tonal qualities to match the voices of the comforting mother and starving child.I really enjoy the piece where Fischer-Dieskau and Schwarzkopf have a discourse about a woman's silly, mindless, flirtatious advances towards an ambivalent, annoyed young man. The drama they bring to the piece is very effective and convincing.Overall, I highly recommend this CD, and I must respectfully disagree with the other Paul who said that this music is not interpreted correctly. "Des Knaben Wunderhorn" may have children as its subject matter and content, but this is MAHLER! He was a man of extreme sensitivity, neurotic tensions, megalomania, insecurity, probing insights, and philosophical ponderings. Mahler may have written music about children, but he didn't write music that should be performed for children in a child-like manner. Mahler is a bit rough around the edges at times, and this music communicates his extreme moods and contrasts very well. I highly recommend this CD. George Szell and the orchestra provide outstanding accompaniments."
The Definitive Recording
Joel Marcus Johnson | Easton, MD United States | 07/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"You recall the fine old recordings with Erich Kunz, that phenomenal bass-baritone, of German university songs? These are not those. Mahler certainly did not have in mind a sentimental re-visit of these tunes. These are not analogous to Britten's English folk songs. You could say these are a hybridization by Mahler of a genre of folk music, his vision of them. As one reviewer complains of the exaggeration of the singers - well, understand Mahler. I'll grant you there are moments when demands are made of Fisher-Dieskau to match the melodic range of Madame Schwarzkopf. Don't blame that on Fidi! Blame it on Mahler and his demands on vocalists. For that matter, who could have recorded it better? Can anyone remember a baritone with Fidi's range? It's only too bad that Szell is not conducting his Cleveland Orchestra in this recording. True, the London Symphony was a fine pick-up orchestra. They did more than all right. But the focus was on the soloists, with Szell as an inimicable compatriot. Anyhow, have you heard any better recording lately of this work?"
"Unexpected Bargain",
Mr. John Haueisen | WORTHINGTON, OH (United States | 05/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

To be honest, I bought this CD because I love all of Mahler's works and because I got it cheap.

Lucky me--turned out it was a classic performance by Schwarzkopf and Fischer-Diskau, and Szell and the London Symphony.

I thought I was just getting a bargain, but I can't imagine anyone doing a better version of Wunderhorn.

This was an unexpected bargain.