Presto News - 21st May 2012

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

When news of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s death broke on Friday afternoon we felt that we couldn’t let his passing go unmarked without paying tribute. Born in 1925, the great German baritone’s name has been a byword for the art of lieder singing for over five decades, synonymous with expressive eloquence, textual sensitivity and sheer communicative genius. His vocal technique, too, was impeccable, but always so wholly deployed in service of music and text that it almost escapes notice.

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

Some of Fischer-Dieskau’s earliest song ‘recitals’ were given in his early twenties, not in a recital hall but in a Prisoner of War camp in Italy, where he cheered his compatriots and others with Schubert. He began his singing career in earnest soon after his release, giving his first professional recital in Leipzig in 1947 and was signed by the Berlin Opera the following year, a house which remained his ‘base’ throughout his 30-year operatic career.

His meteoric rise as a lieder singer really began in the early 50s, when he set down his first, legendary studio recordings with Gerald Moore for EMI: this first Schöne Müllerin has simply never been bettered (and arguably never been equalled) for its clarity and consistently compelling narrative arc. Fischer-Dieskau would revisit the three great Schubert cycles at various points throughout his long career, in the studio as well as on the platform, and each subsequent account testifies to his ever-evolving interpretations – this is a singer who never allowed anything to stagnate, and even after his retirement twenty years ago he demonstrated his sense of continuing discovery in his celebrated recorded masterclasses.

Though it is with the German song repertoire that he is indelibly associated, Fischer-Dieskau’s interpretative gifts registered with almost equal power on the operatic stage. Peerless in the great Mozart roles of Almaviva, Papageno and Don Giovanni and the more lyrical Strauss parts, his astute vocal judgements and musical good sense also led to successful forays into heavier repertoire such as Verdi’s Macbeth, Rigoletto and Falstaff (he had an equal capacity for both comedy and pathos) and the great Wagner roles – Hans Sachs, the Dutchman and even Wotan are preserved on disc, with the lieder singer’s gift for word painting unearthing nuances that often go unnoticed in the larger-scale interpretations which are more usual in these roles.

Contemporary music, too, played a large part in his career and he inspired new works from composers including Pfitzner, Henze and Barber and of course Benjamin Britten. As a friend commented on hearing the sad news, it says much that Britten chose Fischer-Dieskau as the German representative in the premiere of his War Requiem, a work which was designed to bring together the very best of both England and Germany.

Fischer-Dieskau’s legacy will surely be a lasting one, not only in terms of the hugely diverse range of recordings which he leaves behind but also in the profound respect and affection which he inspired in later generations of musicians. As I sat down to write these words on Friday afternoon, it was touching (and not a little incongruous) to see my social networking feeds flooding with tributes, fond memories and simple gratitude from young music lovers and singers who learned their craft from this ‘German master’, a man who had retired well before many of them had even started their training. Many credited his performances with awakening their interest in the art of song, or their love of the German language; many more cherish his interpretations for representing a standard of perfection which they could at least aspire towards, if never reach.

Perhaps the most apposite of Fischer-Dieskau’s roles, then, turned out to be that of Hans Sachs, the eloquently inspirational songsmith and teacher at the heart of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger. (Though the part is usually cast with far more stentorian voices than Fischer-Dieskau’s big lyric, he recorded the role with great success for Deutsche Grammophon in 1976.) Like Wagner’s cobbler-poet, Fischer-Dieskau instilled younger generations with the utmost respect for the German song tradition and ensured its survival, whilst at the same time encouraging them to revitalise it and to make it their own. A true Mastersinger indeed.

You can browse all Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s currently available recordings here, or below you’ll find one particularly good-value set from EMI containing a wide range of his greatest recordings and including the legendary Schubert song cycle recordings with Gerald Moore.

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Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau: The Great EMI Recordings

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone)

“All in all, this is a magnificent retrospective...Strongly recommended.” - Gramophone Magazine

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Katherine Cooper - katherine@prestoclassical.co.uk

New Releases

21st May 2012

This is just the pick of the recent releases. The New Releases and Future Releases pages are always available for browsing all the new and forthcoming releases.

Wagner: Die Walküre

Stig Andersen (Siegmund), Yvonne Howard (Sieglinde), Clive Bayley (Hunding), Egils Silins (Wotan), Susan Bullock (Brünnhilde), Hallé, Sir Mark Elder

This is the latest release in Elder and Halle’s stunning Ring cycle and was recorded live at sell-out Bridgewater Hall concerts which formed highlights of the 2011 Manchester International Festival. The performances received stunning reviews.

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Glass, P: Symphony No. 9 for large symphony orchestra with expanded brass and percussion

Bruckner Orchester Linz, Dennis Russell Davies

Composed on commission from the Bruckner Orchester Linz, Carnegie Hall, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philip Glass’ Ninth Symphony receives its world premiere here on a recording from Orange Mountain Music.

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Martha Argerich & Friends: Live from the Lugano Festival 2011

Martha Argerich (piano), Renaud Capuçon (violin), Gautier Capuçon (cello) and friends

EMI Classics is pleased to release the latest instalment of highlights from the Martha Argerich Project at the Lugano Festival. This is the ninth annual 3-CD set celebrating the musical fruits of a project in which young artists join seasoned performers, including Martha Argerich herself, to explore wide-ranging chamber music and orchestral repertoire, both well known and rarely heard.

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Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra & Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Marin Alsop

Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, one of his greatest works, was written in the United States after the composer was forced to flee Hungary during World War II. It is not only a brilliant display vehicle for each instrumental section but a work of considerable structural ingenuity that unites classical forms and sonorities with the pungency of folk rhythms and harmonies.

Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta explores darker moods through a score of marvellously poised symmetry.

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Purcell: Love’s Madness

Dorothee Mields (soprano), Lautten Compagney Berlin, Wolfgang Katschner

Following her previous very successful release of Love Songs by Purcell (CARUS83435), Dorothee Mields now turns her attention to a darker side of life. Reminiscences of Shakespeare, melancholy and madness are evident throughout this collection.

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Bach, J S: Mass in B minor, BWV232

Collegium Vocale Gent, Philippe Herreweghe

Philippe Herreweghe’s long-lasting interest in the works of the Cantor of Leipzig has turned him into a man whose views evolve as he delves deeper into his subject matter. The joy that he feels – combined with a very legitimate sense of pride – in having forged musical tools that have today reached maturity, has led him to come back on a Missa that has never ceased to intrigue him: the catholic Missa of the protestant composer Bach.

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Schumann: Chamber Music

The Nash Ensemble

Among Schumann’s inspired late chamber works is a collection of music for more unusual instruments, composed in a concentrated flurry of creativity between 1849 and 1853 and written specifically for particular players, and it is to these exquisite short works that the world-famous Nash Ensemble turns its impeccable collective musicianship.

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Mozart: Apollo et Hyacinthus, K38

Klara Ek (Melia), Sophie Bevan (Hyacinthus), Lawrence Zazzo (Apollo), Christopher Ainslie (Zephyrus) & Andrew Kennedy (Oebalus), Classical Opera, Ian Page

Following its successful full length opera, Artaxerxes, Classical Opera return with the first in an epic series of Mozart operas Apollo et Hyacinthus. This recording has been eagerly awaited since its 2007 debut CD, ‘The A-Z of Mozart Opera’ was released, described by David Vickers in Gramophone as ‘glorious...fresh, diverse, insightful and illuminating’.

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Radio 3

BBC Radio 3 CD Review

Saturday 19th May 2012

Building a Library - Gesualdo Round-Up

Gesualdo: Madrigali libro quinto, 1611

La Venexiana

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Gesualdo: Tenebrae responsories

The Hilliard Ensemble

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Disc of the Week

Brahms: Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115 and Grieg: String Quartet in G minor, Op. 27

Hagen Quartett, Jörg Widmann (clarinet)

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19-Dec-2011 -Two legendary performances
12-Dec-2011 -Maurizio Pollini plays Chopin
05-Dec-2011 -Christmas roundup
28-Nov-2011 -Havergal Brian’s Gothic Symphony
21-Nov-2011 -Duetti da Camera: Philippe Jaroussky & Max Emanuel Cencic
14-Nov-2011 -Bruckner and Mahler from Haitink and Pappano
07-Nov-2011 -Haydn from the Takács Quartet
31-Oct-2011 -Sublime Schubert from Paul Lewis
24-Oct-2011 -Franz Liszt
17-Oct-2011 -The Decca Sound
10-Oct-2011 -Pavel Haas Quartet the big winners at the Gramophone Awards
03-Oct-2011 -Berlioz's Grande Messe des Morts from Paul McCreesh
26-Sep-2011 -Handel – Agrippina & Germanico
19-Sep-2011 -Wagner’s Flying Dutchman starts PentaTone’s 10th anniversary celebrations
12-Sep-2011 -Schubert's Schwanengesang from Padmore and Lewis
05-Sep-2011 -Gergiev and the LSO conclude their Mahler cycle
29-Aug-2011 -BIS - Maxim Rysanov, Sibelius and a special offer
22-Aug-2011 -Sublime Ravel from Ibragimova and Tiberghien
15-Aug-2011 -Gustavo Dudamel
08-Aug-2011 -Brahms/Schoenberg from Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker
01-Aug-2011 -Lucia from the Mariinsky
25-Jul-2011 -Bayreuther Festspiele
18-Jul-2011 -Benjamin Grosvenor
11-Jul-2011 -Rossini’s William Tell
04-Jul-2011 -Bach Motets from Herreweghe
27-Jun-2011 -Sublime Vivaldi from Nathalie Stutzmann
20-Jun-2011 -Beethoven’s Fidelio from Abbado and Kaufmann
13-Jun-2011 -Byrd’s Complete Consort Music
06-Jun-2011 -Vaughan Williams’s The Garden of Proserpine
30-May-2011 -Beethoven's Diabelli Variations from Paul Lewis
23-May-2011 -New DVDs from Glyndebourne
16-May-2011 -Martha Argerich
09-May-2011 -Handel's Ariodante
02-May-2011 -Daniel Barenboim plays Chopin and conducts Tchaikovsky
25-Apr-2011 -Fliter and Ibragimova excel in Beethoven
18-Apr-2011 -Julia Lezhneva sings Rossini
11-Apr-2011 -Lully’s Bellérophon
04-Apr-2011 -Mining the archives
28-Mar-2011 -Rachmaninov's Second Symphony
21-Mar-2011 -Suk's Asrael Symphony
14-Mar-2011 -Pergolesi's Stabat Mater
07-Mar-2011 -Striggio: Mass in 40 Parts
28-Feb-2011 -Tomás Luis de Victoria
21-Feb-2011 -Lisa Batiashvili - Echoes of Time
14-Feb-2011 -Kate Royal: A Lesson in Love
07-Feb-2011 -Simon Rattle's new Mahler 2
31-Jan-2011 -Percy Grainger
24-Jan-2011 -Arne: Artaxerxes
17-Jan-2011 -Handel and Strauss from Dessay and Damrau
10-Jan-2011 -Nielsen Symphonies from Colin Davis and the LSO
03-Jan-2011 -The Genius of Mozart
27-Dec-2010 -The year ahead
20-Dec-2010 -Sheet Music now online, and other recent developments
13-Dec-2010 -Robert Schumann
06-Dec-2010 -Vivaldi Operas - Ottone in Villa and Ercole
29-Nov-2010 -Christmas Releases
22-Nov-2010 -Bach Cantatas - the Gardiner pilgrimage
15-Nov-2010 -Henryk Mikolaj Górecki
08-Nov-2010 -Schubert: Piano Duets
01-Nov-2010 -Verdi's Otello from the LSO and Colin Davis
25-Oct-2010 -The Three Baroque Tenors
18-Oct-2010 -Dame Joan Sutherland
11-Oct-2010 -Bach's Violin Concertos from Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque
04-Oct-2010 -Gramophone Awards announced last Friday
27-Sep-2010 -Jonas Kaufmann: Verismo Arias
20-Sep-2010 -Wagner's Parsifal from the Mariinsky and Gergiev
13-Sep-2010 -Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte from René Jacobs
06-Sep-2010 -Puccini's forgotten masterpiece - La Rondine
30-Aug-2010 -Santiago a cappella
23-Aug-2010 -Elīna Garanča goes Spanish
16-Aug-2010 -Rued Langgaard - Music of the Spheres
09-Aug-2010 -Gramophone Awards - The Finalists
02-Aug-2010 -50 Years of the Grosses Festspielhaus Salzburg
26-Jul-2010 -Gustav Mahler
19-Jul-2010 -Sir Charles Mackerras
12-Jul-2010 -Beethoven - Paul Lewis and the BBC Proms
05-Jul-2010 -A Russian Sibelius cycle
28-Jun-2010 -Ronald Brautigam's Beethoven
21-Jun-2010 -Carlos Kleiber
14-Jun-2010 -Handel's Berenice
07-Jun-2010 -Channel Classics
31-May-2010 -Alfredo Casella
24-May-2010 -Shostakovich Preludes & Fugues from Melnikov
17-May-2010 -The multi-talented Julia Fischer
10-May-2010 -Nimbus
03-May-2010 -Leonard Bernstein's Omnibus Broadcasts
26-Apr-2010 -Frédéric Chopin
19-Apr-2010 -Wagner Lohengrin - BBC Awards
12-Apr-2010 -Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique
05-Apr-2010 -Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia and Joyce DiDonato
29-Mar-2010 -Romantic Piano Concertos
22-Mar-2010 -Robin Ticciati and Brahms' Choral Works
15-Mar-2010 -Mozart Symphonies from Mackerras - Volume 2
08-Mar-2010 -Bernard Coutaz and Harmonia Mundi
01-Mar-2010 -Thomas Adès
22-Feb-2010 -Strauss: Alpine Symphony
15-Feb-2010 -Handel: Giulio Cesare and the Brockes Passion
08-Feb-2010 -Debussy and the Prix de Rome
01-Feb-2010 -Testament
25-Jan-2010 -BBC Music Magazine Awards Shortlist
18-Jan-2010 -Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet
11-Jan-2010 -Bach for Violin and Voice
04-Jan-2010 -A Ring cycle for the 21st Century
28-Dec-2009 -Anniversaries - 2009 and 2010
21-Dec-2009 -Richard Farrell
14-Dec-2009 -Thomas Tallis's Secret Garden
07-Dec-2009 -El Sistema
30-Nov-2009 -Christmas Releases
23-Nov-2009 -Kirsten Flagstad
16-Nov-2009 -Nikolaus Harnoncourt
09-Nov-2009 -Two important Elgar rarities
02-Nov-2009 -Felix Mendelssohn
26-Oct-2009 -Cecilia Bartoli and the world of Castratos
19-Oct-2009 -Winterreise from Padmore and Lewis
12-Oct-2009 -Tchaikovsky's Moscow Cantata
05-Oct-2009 -The Quatuor Ebène and the Gramophone Awards
28-Sep-2009 -Unknown Britten
21-Sep-2009 -Australian Eloquence
14-Sep-2009 -Julia Fischer plays Schubert
07-Sep-2009 -Bach Cantata bargain of the year
31-Aug-2009 -Rattle conducts Brahms
24-Aug-2009 -Bruckner from the Concertgebouw
17-Aug-2009 -Gramophone Awards 2009 - Finalists
10-Aug-2009 -Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle
03-Aug-2009 -The Vivaldi Edition
27-Jul-2009 -Diaghilev and The Ballets Russes
20-Jul-2009 -Sir Edward Downes
13-Jul-2009 -Brilliant Classics
06-Jul-2009 -Tomás Luis de Victoria
29-Jun-2009 -Britten's homage to Purcell
22-Jun-2009 -The Three Tenors
15-Jun-2009 -Penguin Rosettes and Building a Library
08-Jun-2009 -Masterclasses
01-Jun-2009 -Gergiev at the Mariinsky
25-May-2009 -Two recent re-discoveries light up Martinu year
18-May-2009 -Idomeneo from René Jacobs
11-May-2009 -A&R and Kate Royal's Midsummer Night
04-May-2009 -Chandos Records - 30 years young
27-Apr-2009 -Rachmaninov Preludes
20-Apr-2009 -20 Years of NMC
13-Apr-2009 -BBC Music Magazine Awards
06-Apr-2009 -Shostakovich 11 from the RLPO
30-Mar-2009 -BIS and the Sibelius Edition
23-Mar-2009 -Haydn - 'The Father of the Symphony'
16-Mar-2009 -George Frederic Handel
09-Mar-2009 -Bach's Brandenburg Concertos
02-Mar-2009 -Angela Gheorghiu in Puccini's Madama Butterfly
23-Feb-2009 -The world's most celebrated violins
16-Feb-2009 -Copyright to be extended
09-Feb-2009 -A feast of Early Music
02-Feb-2009 -Sarah Connolly gets Purcell year off to a flier
26-Jan-2009 -Monteverdi as you've never heard it before!
19-Jan-2009 -Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin put Platti firmly on the map
12-Jan-2009 -Hamelin proves his real class with Chopin
05-Jan-2009 -Lindsays lead the bargains
29-Dec-2008 -Jerusalem - in search of peace
22-Dec-2008 -Looking ahead - Handel, Haydn and more
15-Dec-2008 -2008 - A great year for DVDs
08-Dec-2008 -Top new Christmas recommendations
01-Dec-2008 -Richard Hickox
24-Nov-2008 -The World's Great Orchestras, and Euros and US Dollars now accepted
17-Nov-2008 -Lost manuscripts continue to be found
10-Nov-2008 -Haydn's String Quartets
03-Nov-2008 -Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony
27-Oct-2008 -Contemporary Music
20-Oct-2008 -Sir Peter Moores
13-Oct-2008 -Vivaldi in a new light
06-Oct-2008 -Americans in Pyongyang
29-Sep-2008 -Paul Lewis and the Gramophone Awards 2008
22-Sep-2008 -Songs her mother taught her
15-Sep-2008 -Vernon Handley
08-Sep-2008 -Zig Zag and the Atrium Quartet
01-Sep-2008 -Gramophone Awards nominations
25-Aug-2008 -Beautiful Messiah and Exquisite Morales
18-Aug-2008 -Great Pianists of the Past
11-Aug-2008 -Classical Television Broadcasts on the Internet
04-Aug-2008 -Chloë Hanslip and the unfamiliar
28-Jul-2008 -Leopold Godowsky and the virtuoso pianist
21-Jul-2008 -Linn Records
14-Jul-2008 -Vaughan Williams
07-Jul-2008 -Olivier Messiaen
30-Jun-2008 -Reginald Goodall's revelatory 'Mastersingers'
23-Jun-2008 -The French Baroque - 200 Years of Versailles
16-Jun-2008 -Bach Fugues from Onyx and the Emersons
09-Jun-2008 -New DVD page and Special Offer
02-Jun-2008 -Time to re-evaluate Miaskovsky
26-May-2008 -Superb Scholl sings Dowland and his circle
19-May-2008 -Fiesta! - Dudamel and the Venezuelans
12-May-2008 -The Guarneri Piano Trio and the label Praga
05-May-2008 -A La Bohème for all
28-Apr-2008 -Beethoven and Period Instruments
21-Apr-2008 -The Jerusalem Quartet
14-Apr-2008 -Nigel Kennedy
07-Apr-2008 -Paul Lewis's Beethoven
31-Mar-2008 -Ingrid Fliter
24-Mar-2008 -Mel Bonis
17-Mar-2008 -Stunning new Haydn Creation from Paul McCreesh
10-Mar-2008 -Hilary Hahn plays Schoenberg and Sibelius
03-Mar-2008 -Rattle and Gergiev on Mahler
25-Feb-2008 -Handel Organ Concertos
18-Feb-2008 -Late Mozart Symphonies
11-Feb-2008 -Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Project
04-Feb-2008 -Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel
28-Jan-2008 -Undeservedly neglected music - John Marsh and Juan de Araujo
21-Jan-2008 -New Bach Cantatas page
14-Jan-2008 -Composers' Own Recordings
07-Jan-2008 -Francis Xavier and Jordi Savall
31-Dec-2007 -50 Years of Harmonia Mundi
24-Dec-2007 -Last thoughts on 2007, first on 2008
17-Dec-2007 -Discs of the Year
10-Dec-2007 -Stockhausen
03-Dec-2007 -25 Years of the Compact Disc
26-Nov-2007 -Pacini and the importance of first performances
19-Nov-2007 -Christmas music worth hearing
12-Nov-2007 -The forgotten Maria
05-Nov-2007 -Why composers marked repeats
29-Oct-2007 -Bach B minor Mass from Suzuki
22-Oct-2007 -New Mahler 8 from Pierre Boulez
15-Oct-2007 -Lucerne Festival Orchestra
08-Oct-2007 -Julia Fischer and the Gramophone Awards
01-Oct-2007 -Mozart - Don Giovanni from René Jacobs
24-Sep-2007 -Natalie Clein and the Elgar Cello Concerto
17-Sep-2007 -Joshua Bell
10-Sep-2007 -Luciano Pavarotti
03-Sep-2007 -Kate Royal
27-Aug-2007 -Gramophone Awards - finalists revealed
20-Aug-2007 -Exciting new baroque rediscovery - Conti's David
13-Aug-2007 -Venezuelan Youth Orchestra the envy of the world
06-Aug-2007 -Music's Best-kept Secrets
30-Jul-2007 -Haydn - the most underrated great composer
23-Jul-2007 -Beethoven Piano Sonatas
16-Jul-2007 -BBC Proms 2007
09-Jul-2007 -Elin Manahan Thomas
02-Jul-2007 -Open minds and superb Bernarda Fink
25-Jun-2007 -Excited by another batch of re-issues?
18-Jun-2007 -Composer Works lists now published
11-Jun-2007 -Padmore and Bostridge sing Handel
04-Jun-2007 -Elgar's Enigma Variations
28-May-2007 -Still suffering some seventy years on?
21-May-2007 -Buying Opera on CD or DVD
14-May-2007 -Debussy's new champion
07-May-2007 -Schütz's Legacy
30-Apr-2007 -Mstislav Rostropovich
23-Apr-2007 -Missed Opportunities
16-Apr-2007 -BBC Music Magazine Awards
09-Apr-2007 -The way we listen
02-Apr-2007 -Too much Mozart?
26-Mar-2007 -Harpsichord or Piano?
19-Mar-2007 -Strauss's Four Last Songs
12-Mar-2007 -The importance of government support
05-Mar-2007 -Do today's musicians all sound the same?

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