Loewe - Ballads and Lieder
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau bar Jörg Demus pf
DG 449 516-2GX2 Buy now
(156‘ · ADD · T/t)
All the best-known ballads are included here, magnificently sung by a great artist at the height of his powers. ‘Edward’, ‘Herr Oluf’, ‘Heinrich der Vogler’, ‘Prince Eugen’, ‘Der Zauberlehrling’: these and others are sung with a wonderful sense of the graphic, conveyed through an appreciation of the colour of the words that never descends into overemphasis and that’s beautifully attuned to Loewe’s illustrative manner. Fischer-Dieskau and Demus are ideal partners, Demus responding quickly and with an ear for the sinister that often marks the piano writing and its subtle use of motif. Not just a composer of ballads, Loewe was also a Lieder-writer in the great German tradition, and this is too often overlooked, but not by Fischer-Dieskau.
Two songs alone from this magisterial collection are witness to Loewe’s stature. They are settings of the wonderful poems from the second part of Faust in which Lynceus, the lynx-eyed watcher on the tower, sees the magical appearance of Helen of Troy herself. He, incarnating the gift of the perception of visual beauty, after a life of watching from his tower can conceive of nothing that could surpass this wonder; and, in the second song, hymns his gratitude to the gift of sight. Loewe’s two settings are beautiful responses to the poetry of a great artist with the gift of an ideal simplicity. These two songs alone should persuade the responsive listener to make the exploration.