Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hotter, and Quasthoff, and Ludwig... Oh My! - Dr. von Lyric talks Schubert

"Last week I mentioned that perhaps we could roam down some Biedermeier corridors with Franz Schubert (the subject having been raised by BLO's upcoming annex production of CLEMENCY which features an early song by that Viennese master) And so...

   One of my favorite singers (of Schubert but also Strauss and Mahler, and Mozart and on and on) is Christa Ludwig. I heard her often in recital and on the opera stage - Leonora, Dorabella, Dido, Fricka, Brangane , the Dyer's Wife - and she was always an eloquent and deeply moving singer.

   And just because I couldn't resist here she is again

   Hans Hotter - another singer I had the great privilege to hear perform  in the opera house -  Wotan, the Dutchman, Gurnemanz , King Marke. Although late in his career he was still  uniquely commanding and his voice darkly tinged with an almost cosmically tragic weight.

   A striking 1991 video of two  consummate Schubert singers Hotter (aged 82) and Thomas Quasthoff (aged 33)  Hotter was of course very famous for his reading of the Schubert song cycle "Winterreise" and this performance of the last song  both desperate and resigned is poignant. The expression on Quasthoff's face is fascinating...

     Of course any perusal of Schubert  would be incomplete with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Again an artist I heard perform many times in recital. I was always a bit conflicted about his singing - it often seemed over worked, over emphasized in contrast to the apparently more direct communication given by Ludwig and Hotter, but his commitment and musicianship can never  be denied" - Dr. von Lyric


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