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After an introduction by Klaus Schultz, artistic director of the Gärtnerplatz, Dieskau came on stage, took his bows and launched straight into the English-language recital without a personal word to his audience of which he seems to be only vaguely aware.

The star comes across as strangely introspective as though living in a world of his own, inhabited only by music and his text. Still, the Schoenberg is enjoyable, not only because of Dieskau's accent-free British English and his dramaturgical talents, but also because of the chamber orchestra supporting him, made up of some of the best Gärtnerplatz musicians. Both pianist Hartmut Höll and first cellist Hans-Peter Besig deserve a special mention for their sensitive and technically challenging following of Fischer-Dieskau's frequent changes of rhythm and speed that would have sent many lesser musicians into despair.

Hans-Peter Besig. Photo © 2006 Sissy von Kotzebue
Hans-Peter Besig. Photo © 2006 Sissy von Kotzebue

'Working with an orator rather than singer is not as easy as it looks,' explains Besig after the performance. 'Schoenberg was very accurate in his phrasings, very precise in his tempi. When following the spoken rather than sung word, it is sometimes not so easy to keep the flow between instrumentalists and speaker. It was a big challenge for all of us and one that was only possible with plenty of meticulous rehearsal of the orchestra members.'

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Copyright © 5 March 2006 Tess Crebbin and Sissy von Kotzebue, Germany


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