Piano Helmut Deutsch
Soprano Clara Thomsen
Soprano Felicitas Fuchs
Mezzosoprano Stefanie Irányi
“Is the German lied dead? No, it is not dead. It is merely that the singers who can bring it to life even nowadays in such an unromantic time have become rare.” These words could have been written recently but in fact they come from a review of a recital by the young Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in 1952. This marked the start of probably the most magnificent era for lied ever experienced in Germany and Austria: Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Hans Hotter, Irmgard Seefried, Fritz Wunderlich, Hermann Prey, Christa Ludwig, Peter Schreier, Brigitte Fassbaender to name only a few. Since the beginning of my professional career I have always been aware of comments such as ‘song recitals are difficult to sell’, ‘the lied is a dying art form’. However, I don’t see things so pessimistically. Nevertheless, the essential prerequisite for enjoying a song recital is to listen intensively. In grand instrumental works and even more so in operas lasting several hours, if you allow your thoughts to wander for a few minutes, that is probably not exactly what the composer intended. Nevertheless, after four and a half hours of Die Meistersinger you can still go home happy, even if you have not heard every bar with full attention. But in a song, the entire cornucopia of emotions, thoughts and images is poured out in a few minutes. Revenge comes immediately if one loses concentration on text and music even for a moment; at best one has heard a pretty piece of music but not really grasped and experienced the song. Art songs are therefore totally unsuitable for background music; you have to listen very attentively so that this world can be fully opened up for you. But here it is certainly not so difficult, for the evening with three wonderful singers presents a highly
varied treasure of jewels of the art song. Allow yourselves to be enchanted.