Music and Vision homepage All Risks Musical - an irreverent guide to the music profession by Alice McVeigh


<<  -- 4 --  Tess Crebbin and Sissy von Kotzebue    AN ACQUIRED TASTE


Fischer-Dieskau's humorous treatment of the text was in stark contrast with that of his accompanist, Hartmut Höll. The latter was taken in by the bleakness of the music, its desperate counterpoint, and gave it all on the piano keys, to the point of emotional exhaustion. There was almost bottomless opportunity for real drama in that work, which could have been beautifully played out in the interaction between orator and pianist, but this was barely touched upon by Fischer-Dieskau. Ullmann has chosen the Rilke text as an analogy for the fate of artists in the Third Reich but very little of that came across in the orator's interpretation.

Taking their bows, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau with Hartmut Höll (left). Photo © 2006 Sissy von Kotzebue
Taking their bows, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau with Hartmut Höll (left). Photo © 2006 Sissy von Kotzebue

When he comes to the end, Fischer-Dieskau bows, accompanied by enthusiastic applause from his loyal followers who keep calling him out over and over, and then he disappears. Backstage, within a few minutes after it is all over, he is nowhere to be seen. One is left with the feeling of having been in the presence of a great star but without having had the benefit of knowing anything more about him than what could have been found out by listening to a CD. The kind of emotional detachment that Fischer-Dieskau seems to have elevated to an art form is somewhat of an acquired taste for which, perhaps, one needs to have grown up in German society in order to truly appreciate it.

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







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