The American baritone Barry McDaniel was one of the outstanding singers of the post-war era. As a successful opera singer and Lieder interpreter, he enjoyed a long and eventful career, both in Germany and abroad. Despite numerous performances and many recordings for radio and television, he nonetheless remained largely unnoticed by the media, partly because his name almost vanished in the shadow of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, who was five years his senior. Unjustly so, since the two singers were equals as artists, albeit with different characters. Today, Barry McDaniel is hardly mentioned in specialist literature and one searches in vain for CDs since, until now, recordings from radio archives have not been phonographically processed. However, Audite now presents a première double CD of Lieder sung by Barry McDaniel. These studio recordings from the archives of Radio Berlin-Brandenburg (formally Sender Freies Berlin) were made between 1963 and 1974 with Hertha Klust and Aribert Reimann as accompanists.
This selection of songs by Schubert, Schumann, Wolf, Duparc, Ravel and Debussy reveals diverse facets of McDaniel’s artistic personality. His interpretations are characterised by an interleaving of knowledge and naivety, feeling and craftsmanship, expression and impeccable singing. Apart from his immaculate technique, his accent-free German is particularly remarkable.
Barry McDaniel moved from the USA to Germany in 1953 in order to further his studies. He then gave his first song recitals, together with Hermann Reutter, and later began a career as an opera singer. In 1961 he was engaged at the newly re-opened Deutsche Oper Berlin, where he remained for thirty-seven years. At the same time, he gave guest performances at the Vienna Staatsoper, the Metropolitan Opera New York, the Frankfurt Opera and the Munich Opera Festival, as well as broadcasting for radio and television. In addition, Barry McDaniel gave numerous song recitals, for example in Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Hanover, Brunswick and Berlin, including, in the latter city, the first ever song recital at the newly built Philharmonie in 1963. Today, the 81-year-old baritone declares: “Whatever I sing, I have to believe in it.” That is exactly how these recordings sound.
“The American Barry McDaniel inevitably sang in the shadow of Fischer-Dieskau; but this double CD reveals his deeply thoughtful baritone, in superbly accompanied Lieder and melodie.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2012 ****