This collection of all of Schubert's songs for low voice is one of the landmark recordings of the 20th century because it features two of the greatest Schubertians of their era, baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and pianist Gerald Moore. The recordings, made by Deutsche Grammophon between 1966 and 1972, come from Fischer-Dieskau's prime, when he was in his early to mid-thirties, his voice fully mature and its youthful bloom gloriously resplendent. He brought an acute, probing intelligence to everything he performed, as well as a penetrating, unmannered musicality, and those qualities are everywhere apparent in his Schubert lieder. Moore was primarily known as an accompanist, and in that role he was perhaps unsurpassed, but his contribution to the music is no way secondary. His playing has interpretive distinctiveness as well as the instinctive musicality of a performer deeply immersed in Schubert's sound world. The singer and pianist made multiple recordings of many of these songs and while aficionados may prefer a version of a song or cycle other than the one offered here, the version here is never less than superb.
The set, which includes 463 songs on 21 discs, should be of utmost interest to any fans of the singer and pianist, and to anyone who loves Schubert, and to anyone who loves collaborative music-making of the highest order. The value of the limited edition set released in celebration of the singer's 85th birthday makes it a terrific bargain. The remastering is mostly exemplary and the sound is immaculate, warm, and present. There are a few technical glitches, like a slight click and skip in the introduction to "Wasserflut," but overall the sound is first-class. The balance is just about ideal; it's easy to shut one's eyes and imagine the performers there in the same room. Very highly recommended.