The Fischer-Dieskau EditionIntroduction by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
At first I found the experience somewhat unsettling: an encounter with one's early efforts, whether painting or writing or even work acoustical and musical in nature. But upon inspecting the generous birthday offering from Deutsche Grammophon represented by this collection, initial anxiety gave way to satisfaction; for most of the recordings come from a time that saw me on the way to achieving the best of which I was capable.
It was especially moving to be taken back to happy times of making music with my late first wife Irmgard Poppen, in Scottish songs by Haydn, Beethoven and Weber as well as in French repertoire - together with friends like Aurèle Nicolet, Helmut Heller and Karl Engel. Engel also proved to be an outstanding accompanist in many late Romantic pieces.
That a conductor as distinguished as Ferenc Fricsay was prepared - with his orchestra to accompany Italian and French arias, and did so with such enthusiasm, was something extraordinary, surely a tribute to our friendship and long, productive years of working together. I am particularly fond of these recordings, which were made in the Jesus-Christus-Kirche in Dahlem, Berlin, and have long hoped for their reissue. The performances of Baroque music with the Lucerne Festival Strings, which date back to the beginning of the 1960s, were a last-minute recording project organized alongside festival concerts.
The recording of Schubert's "Die schöne Müllerin" is of special interest as it has - for reasons I cannot recall - never been available before. I am also grateful to be able to hear again the other lieder recordings with Jörg Demus and am amazed that, along with titles already released several times, there is so much new to discover. It was a great pleasure to be reminded of the recordings of songs by Franz Liszt, for which my newly acquired Bösendorfer was transported to the studio and used in the sessions.
I am left now only to wish that all this music - including much that back then appeared on record for the very first time - is worthy of preservation and that its interpretation will find sympathetic ears.