Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau Monsaingeon films set

Following the death of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Bruno Monsaingeon's boxed set of DFD Materials is being heavily marketed. Don't rush out, though. Most of this material has been issued before, and most fans will already have them in their collections.

The new release is "Fischer-Dieskau : Last Words" . issued in 2013, but based on  extracts from film sessions from 2008/09. Any chance to see Fischer-Dieskau is welcome. It's fascinating to watch his face as he listens to his recording of Schumann's Kerner Lied Stirb, Lieb' und Freud'. You can hear him anticipate the tricky "O Jungfrau rein! Laß mich allein Dein eigen sein!", where the young nun prays to the Virgin Mary. The interviews are edited so they can be followeed in a series of vignettes. DFD discusses his parents, singing in a POW camp, and his early years as a singer. Don't expect revelations. DFD was too experienced an interviewee to give anything away, and Monsaingeon is more worshipful than probing. DFD comments on Furtwángler,but he was too young to have known much about what the conductor did in the Third Reich and Furtwángler wouldn't, in any case, have revealed it to a youthful singer.  The fiilm is also heavily oriented towards DFD's opera career and gives special prominence to Julia Varady, who will, we hope, be with us for many years to come and holds the key to DFD's estate. Since the film is based on what's left of the original archive material, anything special would have been before.

"Fischer-Dieskau : Last Words" runs  50 minutes and on its own isn't worth the price of the 6 DVD set, although devotees like me get a thrill just watching DFD talk. In any case, it's available free on (link here). The set includes earlier Monsaingeon films like Autumn Journey made to mark DFD's 70th birthday in 1995. There are concerts, with Hartmut Holl and Christoph Eschenbach, originally issued in 1991 and 1992. They're good enough but don't reflect the singer at the height of his powers. .

Monsaingeon describes the set as "a major Edition which bears my name: the Bruno Monsaingeon edition. It is dedicated to my work with some of the legendary artists of our time.......Fischer-Dieskau and I became acquainted towards the end of the eighties. Over the years, our relationship evolved into a real friendship, if I may say so." As such, the materials are interesting in their own right, but by the 80's DFD was already a great celebrity, as Monsaingeon was well aware. Presentation is slick and there's a booklet., But if you have £155 to spare, you might invest in good recordings.

No comments: