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Sorry, Chris, but, since the thread has already gone astray, I may quickly respond to some personal comments:
Jane, once more, you resorted to something distasteful, but I guess you find it funny and, unfortunately, that counts (for you).
Vic, thanks for the generosity to accept the new "dispensation". As for the rest...
As for you, very dear Lilian, you do really deserve any compliment for your "intellectual honesty" and not only. Just for your info, I don't need anyone to "rescue" me. "Die Gedanken sind frei" aber "Ich bin frei...auch". Das ist ganz wichtig.
As for the Anais Nin, nice tip. However, do not forget her saying: "We don't see the others as they are; we see them as we are"!
Finally, my "cipher" tip for you, Lilian: The title of a new lieder Product by Katherine Broderick, easily obtainable by Champs Hill Records. (Very interesting and good for any Lieder lover, by the way).
This is a
very interesting thread and lied is close to my heart. Please forgive the ill
informed ramblings of a relative newbie, but they are based on my
opinion and limited experience...
anyone think contemporary lieder singers are of the same interpretative quality
as those of 40 years ago? Personally I don’t think so.That is not too say
that there aren’t modern singers who may be capable of singing Lieder, but who
would teach them, and what career could they look forward to? It’s a chicken
and egg situation, or perhaps a vicious circle, but certainly I fear the days
of great Lieder singers is over. People like Anders, Prey, Schreier, Haefliger,
Patzak, Hotter, Souzay, and Schlussnuss were among the best of any period. Try comparing Wunderlich and Schreier in Die Schone Mullerin. The former’s voice is
truly beautiful but I find his interpretation is boring compared to Schreier's.
Secondly, no one has mentioned the baritone Gunther Leib.
He had a lovely intimate heartfelt style and for me, his is the best stereo era
Winterreise, against Anders 1945 mono version.
PS I’m just trying to provoke a debate so I can learn
something, not a row...
Welcome to the Forum, Wayne, and apologies for the slow response.
As an 'oldie' I can say easily that I completely agree with you. I've been lucky enough to have heard some of the singers you mention in recital, and would add the sopranos and contraltos of the era too, especially Seefried and Schwarzkopf, not to mention slightly later, Christa Ludwig and Janet Baker.
It seems you are not an admirer of Fischer-Dieskau. I know he provokes strong opinions but his Lieder singing has given me much pleasure over many years, despite his sometimes over-didactic style. Another you omit is the British tenor Peter Pears, though in his case at least half the pleasure came from the brilliance of his pianist!
I have a feeling that a golden age of Lieder singing came at a time when singers who had learned their trade at a time when individuality mattered more than strict style but were young enough to bring greater rigour to their singing.
The other great gift all the finest Lieder singers have (had) is that ability to tell a story. It's no accident that amongst the tenors, the greatest Lieder singers were also fine Evangelists in the Bach Passions. Which point reminds me that Ian Bostridge is one who has joined the ranks of the greatest, although his singing can be too mannered sometimes.
I suppose I'm not quite so pessimistic as you. I've heard great Lieder recitals from Christoph Pregardien (another fine Evangelist), Thomas Holzmair, Mathias Goerne, Dietrich Henschel and Olaf Bär, for example. But none of these quite efface the memories of those older singers - above all the wonderful Irmgard Seefried and the astonishing Hans Hotter, equally at home in the gentlest Schubert Lied and as the imperious Wotan.
I wonder whether younger Forum members will agree though!
PS And yes in case we have any smartipants around I'm aware Das Lied von der Erde isn't really classified as lieder!
Yes Peter Anders was a fine tenor. I know only a few of his Lieder recordings though. I'll try to look some out. Another fine tenor Lieder singer was Aksel Schiøtz: I particularly remember a fine recording of Schumann's Dichterliebe.
I once heard Hermann Prey sing Schubert's Winterreise in London. James Levine was his pianist! Excellent it was too.
With your preference for the male voice you miss some wonderful songs and song-cycles composed for women's voices, or perhaps you make exceptions for those.
Do you know the EMI set "Schubert Lieder on record". It has many interesting recordings, mostly older ones that Jane would not approve of.
While I am old enough but probably not as Chris, I find fine singers in various eras. Of course, a Hotter, a Prey or a Fischer-Dieskau (particularly in his Prime) are difficult to be found. However, in these deeper voices of Baritone or Bass, Holzmair, Gerhaher, Henschel and Mertens are all fine singers that serve the art of Song as good as it gets. Tomlinson is a fine Bass for various Songs. Matthias Hoelle and Kurt Moll too.
In the Tenors, Pregardien and Padmore, among others, are creating their own legacy.
In Sopranos or Mezzos, Mitsuko Shirai recorded some very fine records of a vast variety of Songs. Marjama Lipovsek has recorded and performed live a great series of Lieder, just to mention very few. Bernarda Fink too.
From the old(er) Sopranos, one can never forget the immense contribution of Schwarzkopf, the exquisite role of Victoria de los Angeles and the incredible warmth of Lucia Popp.
Yes I have the old historical box of Schubert Leider on record! Great fun
I dont want to sound rude Parla but "Padmore creating his own legacy"? I bow to your greater experience and appreciation, but are you sure? His Winterreise just seems affected to me, like he has read about the emotion and is singing the words but isn't experiencing it. The finest singers in this almost seem defeated or numbed by their journey. In terms of his ability to convey the emotion (pace Chris) I dont think he is any more than second division...
Perhaps I'm missing something.I guess its good that we all have different taste in this.
Thanks for your note again Chris. Happy new year!
Interesting you mention Dichterleibe, I have an old 10" of Walther Ludwig singing it with Michael Raucheisen which I'm fond of but a friend whose opinion I value finds him a bit one dimensional, more of an opera singer. Whats your opinion?
Likewise, I'd recommend Gunther Leib singing Winterisse if you can find it. He is quite a light Baritone but he does seem to get to the core of the work without forcing anything. It seems felt rather than overstated, if that makes sense.
Happy New Year to you Wayne!
I've heard a few Lieder recordings of Walther Ludwig without being especially impressed. My favourite Dichterliebe recordings are by Souzay, either with Bonneau (Decca) or Baldwin (Philips). Also Hans Hotter, though his accompanist is really not up to scratch. For a tenor, Schreier takes some beating!
Up until about seven or eight years ago I had regular opportunities to hear Lieder recitals live. Now, only rarely do I get the chance and I haven't heard Mark Padmore live. Also, I'm getting to an age (as Jane so kindly noted) that I find it harder for new interpretations to shake off my affections for earlier versions.
I do think though that there was a golden age for Lieder singing, from the early 50s to the 70s approximately, though with some superb exceptions before (Schumann, Hüsch, Janssen) and after (Pregardien, Holzmair, Goerne, Henschel, Quasthoff).
I've not heard Gunther Leib's Winterreise but I know him as a fine singer of Bach. He recorded mostly for East German companies I think. I'll try to look out his Winterreise. I really love Hotter's last commercial recording of it, with Erik Werba.
For the women, I do agree with Parla about Bernarda Fink. Also Brigitte Fassbänder made some fine Lieder recordings
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