This box of seven CDs contains recordings by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Gerald Moore of all the songs of Hugo Wolf's maturity suitable for a man's voice. There are studio recordings of 152 songs with 29 of them recorded twice - a total of 181 tracks. One hundred and fourteen recordings appear here on CD for the first time. On the seventh CD, there are recordings of four of Wolf's orchestral works. These are decent performances by the Radio Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart with Fischer-Dieskau in his role as a conductor, but they don't hold a fraction of the interest of the songs.
The songs were recorded from 1952 to 1960. No allowances need to be made for the quality of the recordings - the voice is thrillingly immediate - and as for the performances they are, as you would expect from the world's greatest lieder singer in his absolute prime, breathtaking. Perhaps some of the songs would have sounded better if they had been sung by a tenor, but while we're here on earth, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau will do. As for the songs themselves, they are among the very greatest of their kind - as ardent and spontaneous as those of Wolf's great predecessors Schubert and Schumann, but with an added dash of late Romantic astringency and nervousness.
This boxed set was compiled and released to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of Hugo Wolf. For lovers of his songs, it is the stuff of dreams.