F-D in fine voice and with few mannerisms
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 01/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One listener's tics are another listener's irritating mannerisms. I love almost everything recorded by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, and rarely hear the mannerisms some critics find intolerable. In reverse, I rarely listen to Fischer-Dieskau because of his abundant mannerisms: he barks, blusters, over-accents, and indulges in self-absorbed artfulness. But occasionally those faults are at their minimum, as in this 1977 Schumann recital with Christoph Eschenbach. F-D's Dichterliebe can't compare with Peter Pears for depth of feeling, but it's thrilling technically, and one doesn't feel that the singer has adopted a one-size-fits-all platform mananer.
Even better is the Lieerkreis Op. 39 based on poems by Eichendorff. F-D made a gorgeous, utterly tic-free mono recording early in his career (1954, now released by Audite) with Gunther Weissenborn as accompanist. Seventeen years later, he's nearly as good -- direct, technically immaculate, in no way mannered. He does give in to shouting in a few songs, especially the last number, Fruhlingsnacht, yet that's a minor quibble. I'd rate this Schumann disc as one of his best, particuarly for listeners who, like me, usually aren't fans. Eschenbach plays artfully and avoids being too anemic, which he can be."