Christoph Gerhaher/ Gerold Huber(Sony Classical)
The great baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau set the standard for German lieder singing over a generation. With his recent death, the mantle surely passes to the equally accomplished Christian Gerhaher – but what a contrast of styles. Rather than a purely beautiful voice, Gerhaher's approach is intently text-focused, making the consonants sound as strongly as the vowels, responsive to every twist and turn of the poetry. He feels a deep affinity with Schoenberg's Book of the Hanging Gardens, and this wonderfully programmed sequence of the first and second Viennese schools takes in Haydn and Berg before ending with Beethoven's aching Adelaide, perfectly sung.
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