This 6-CD set captures Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Daniel Barenboim in some of their most significant recordings together and features the astonishingly beautiful and highly regarded lieder of Hugo Wolf.
Götz Friedrich’s 1981 Elektra film sets Richard Strauss’ opera in a dark and dingy abandoned 20th-century factory populated by grungy denizens in psuedo-Greek garb. Elektra herself appears like some deranged homeless woman reeking with sweat and slime (in the rain). And the depravity doesn’t stop there. Friedrich plays up the work’s sado-masochistic elements, with bloody whippings and an orgy sequence involving nude lesbians bathing themselves in the blood of a sacrificial ram. Now you might think that all of this detracts from the score, but on the contrary, the production matches image to music so brilliantly that anyone seeing this opera for the first time would think they were created for each other (which allows you to ignore the occasional useless, almost silly gesture, such as the frequent and prolonged shots of Agamemnon’s bloodied visage during Elektra’s opening monologue).
Marlène Dietrich ne parle pas volontiers de sa vie : elle a toujours refusé d’écrire ses mémoires, ce qu’elle fit malgré tout en 1984 avec «Marlène D». …
…Harald Vogel is an authoritative proponent and guide through all aspects of this music, and the quality of his playing, and of the recordings and choice of instruments can hardly be faulted. Already recognised as interpretations and recordings without equal, certainly in a complete edition, this set has to be considered the current Buxtehude standard bearer.
As part of this [four-part] edition of previously unreleased radio recordings from across Fischer-Dieskau’s entire career, these interpretations of Beethoven, Mahler and Schumann demonstrate his unrivalled synthesis of intelligence and expression.