SCHUBERT Winterreise / Fischer-Dieskau 4474212
No list of great recordings could ignore Fischer-Dieskau and of his many versions of this work, this seems to balance vocal beauty and intellectual insight.
[Alan Blyth, Gramophone, August 1995]: "That this is the most interior, unadorned and undemonstrative of Fischer-Dieskau's readings perhaps arises from the fact that Demus, a discerning musician and sure accompanist, is the most reflective of all the singer's many partners in the cycle. Demus never strikes out on his own, is always there unobtrusively and subtly supportive, with the right colour and phrasing, literally in hand. Given an intimate, slightly dry recording, finely remastered, the whole effect is of a pair communing with each other and stating the sad, distraught message of Schubert's bleak work in terms of a personal message to the listener in the home. With this deeply rewarding performance now at mid-price, all other baritone versions are severely challenged. Certainly if you want Fischer-Dieskau in the cycle you need look no further." . . . Hugo Shirley: There's extraordinary artistry from Fischer-Dieskau . . . and this [recording] features Jörg Demus, who brings a lighter, more restrained touch . . . the self-effacing accompaniment encourages some wonderful quiet singing: the hushed concentration at the start of 'Einsamkeit', for example, is exquisite . . . Their 'Letzte Hoffnung' is certainly a mini-masterpiece and the lyrical outpouring at the final line is wonderful. Similarly, the final verse of 'Gute Nacht' is of remarkable delicacy, with Demus, already so quiet throughout, managing to find an extra piano in his dynamic . . . the more I listen, the more I'm finding myself won over to Fischer-Dieskau's approach . . . Richard Fairman: The first thing that strikes me about this recording is how straightforward Demus is as the accompanist -- clean, clear, unassuming, rhythmically precise . . . His unaffected playing has a touch of period-performance style about it. He is so resolutely not romantic and that would fit perfectly with some of today's leading Schubert singers . . . each time I return to Fischer-Dieskau I find him the most consistently involving . . . the psychology of the winter traveller seems most convincingly thought through . . . At any rate, this one has become an important addition to my collection, and yes -- deservedly a classic.