Zum Liederabend am 30. August 1964 in Edinburgh

The Guardian, 2. September 1964

Fischer-Dieskau Recital at Edinburgh

Only Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Gerald Moore could fill the Usher Hall Ė which means an audience of close on 3000 Ė with a programme of such rarities as they presented on Wednesday. Fischer-Dieskau has sung Busoniís four Goethe songs in London before now, but they must have been new to most of the Edinburgh audience who will doubtless have been impressed by this composerís very true settings not only of the colourful "Zigeunerlied" and Mephistophelesí flea song from "Faust" but also of the much more elusive emotions of "Lied des Unmuts" and "Schlechter Trost".

Most of the 10 Strauss songs in the second half of the programme were equally unfamiliar, some of them less satisfactory because of the undistinguished texts, but all of them musically beguilling

In fact, the Mahler section of the recital was most rewarding. The sad song about Strasbourg, with Gerald Moore colouring so evocatively Mahlerís modulations that suggest the magic call of the Alp horn, was one, and the most moving was Fischer-Dieskauís hollow, unworldly interpretation of "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen".

Gerald Larner


     The Daily Telegraph, 2. September 1964     


Edinburgh Festival

Great singerís melodius way with Strauss


Dietrich Fischer-Dieskauís recital with Gerald Moore at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, contained almost the only acknowledgment of the Strauss centenary in this yearís Edinburgh Festival programme.

The ten songs he sang, covering a period of 35 years, and including several little-known, exemplified that perfect self-knowledge that helped to make Strauss so unerring and successful a composer.

He knew his expressive limitations and scarcely ever attempted the noble or the profound.

The verses he chose were mostly pleasant and unambitious and he set them with a precision of feeling free from all pretension Ė which did not prevent him from achieving once or twice something deeply moving.

"Ruhe, meine Seele" is an example which ranks with the finest masterpieces of German song.

Too subdued

Fischer-Dieskau curiously denied us its full greatness by singing it in too studiously subdued a manner, which did not convey the desired effect of suppressed intensity, but made it instead slightly dull.

The less demanding songs found him more naturally and easily responsive, and in light, melodious voice that wonderfully enhanced their modest charms.

These works by Strauss were illuminatingly placed in a context of songs by two of his contemporaries, among them a group by Mahler..

He too, was a master song-writer when not aiming too high, as in the group of three songs from "Des Knaben Wunderhorn".

To complete this unusually interesting and intelligently planned programme there were four Goethe settings by Busoni.

C. M.

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