An Archive Recording Concert of Fritz Wunderlich's last "Dichterliebe"

Edinburgh Festival 1997

At the Edinburgh Festival 1997, there was a series of concerts of Archive Recordings from former Festivals. These are among the collection of the "Music Performance Research Centre (MPRC)", in The Barbican Library, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS (tel/fax +44 (0) 1932-860472), which is dedicated to preserving recordings of public performances (in the UK, presumably) from the 1930s onwards. Tapes can normally only be heard at the Centre's studios (for copyright reasons), but special arrangements were made for this series.

Andrew Cooper wrote about the concert on the OPERA-L mailing list on August 24, 1997. The following is quoted with his permission:

... The other MPRC event I attended was a Fritz Wunderlich recital from 4 September 1966, thirteen days before he died. There were about 100 people present in the Queen's Hall for this somewhat surreal event. Jon Tolansky, Administrator of the MPRC, introduced the concert by saying that he'd been there when it was recorded, and that this was his favourite of the 18 Archive Recording events (there were others, including the Callas 1957 LA SOPORIFICA, which I was sorry to have missed). He sat down, and we then sat and stared at a tape-player, an amplifier (with operator) and two speakers, and listened to the incomparable Wunderlich singing Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann, accompanied, of course, by Hubert Giesen.
I liked the Beethoven best, perhaps because it was first and the initial sound of Wunderlich's voice is so overwhelming; my eyes filled with tears at the opening line of the first song, "Adelaide". Also: "Resignation", "Der Wachtelschlag" (very enjoyable), "Mailied" and "Der Kuß". The familiar Schubert works were "Der Einsame", "Nachtstück", "Lied eines Schiffers an die Dioskuren", "An Silvia" and "Die Forelle" ("An die Laute" was promised but not delivered.)
After the interval, a notable "Dichterliebe". The tape we were hearing came from a private recording of a BBC broadcast, so we also got the announcements of Douglas Smith, straight man in numerous Goon Shows. Alas, there was no time for the five encores, mostly Schubert and Schumann, and finishing with Strauss's "Ständchen" and Schubert's "An die Musik".

Fritz Wunderlich Discography