Zum Liederabend am 29. November 1964 in New York

New York Times, 30. November 1964

Fischer-Dieskau Sings Schubert

German Baritone is Praised in Carnegie Hall Recital

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s Schubert recital last night at Carnegie Hall was more than a superb concert of beautiful music sung with the utmost finesse and understanding. As the songs flowed forth in the German baritone’s effortless and pure style of singing, the occasion became a kind of communion with music - a simple celebration of art.

It seemed simple because Mr. Fischer-Dieskau breathed life into each phrase in a way that appeared perfectly natural. But the effect of this naturalness was most profound. He was repeatedly moving beyond word in songs that have not wanted for great performances. The tragedy of "Erlkönig" sounded brand new. "Du bist die Ruh’" was like a soothing balm to a troubled spirit.

The capacity audience and the several hundred persons seated on the stage cheered at the close of the program’s 15 songs, and the singer graciously offered three encores.

The response was gratifying in a program where the singing seldom rose above mezzo forte, staying for the most part in a light bouyant dynamic range. To be stirred by quiet singing is rare.

Imposingly Unsmiling

Although his appearance was pleasant, Mr. Fischer-Dieskau never smiled. His 6-foot 3-inch stature is imposing, but his face is that of a boy. Of mannerisms there were none. He faced his pianist, Gerald Moore, during introductions, then wheeled to face the audience at his first note. In a stormy passage, he would step toward the audience, his head down slightly. Always his face mirrored the music, so that it would cloud over or light up.

Mr. Moore must be singled out for his outstanding role in the performance. And the singer always shared the spotlight with his accompanist even to the point of turning toward him in some of the piano epilogues.

Since Mr. Fischer-Dieskau came here Nov. 20, he has shared a recital with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and has sung twice with the New York Philharmonic. On Tuesday, he will make the last appearance of his visit, singing in a concert version of Busoni’s "Doktor Faust."

It would be greedy to ask for more from so busy a man, who has already given so much. But the request is there, for Mr. Fischer-Dieskau is that most valuable of artists, one who transcends the tools of music, and with music puts his listeners in touch with the deep universal qualities of love, hope and humility.

Howard Klein

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