V2659. GERHARD HUSCH, w.Manfred Gurlitt (Pf.): Schwanengesang (Schubert). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-484, recorded 1952, Tokyo..
“In the 1930s Gerhard Hüsch (1901-1984) occupied a position among German lieder singers akin to that of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in the 1950s and '60s. Today he's considered the exemplar of a style of singing that went out of fashion with the arrival of Fischer-Dieskau, his polar opposite. To oversimplify, Hüsch's main concern was with the music, using vocal colors, legato, and other bel canto means to convey meaning and emotions, while Fischer-Dieskau focused on the text, emphasizing words - and later, syllables - to communicate a song's message.”
- Dan Davis, Classics Today.com
“Gerhard Hüsch (2 February 1901 – 23 November 1984) was one of the most important German singers of modern times. A lyric baritone, he specialized in Lieder but also sang, to a lesser extent, German and Italian opera. Between 1925 and 1944, he was engaged to sing regularly in Berlin (most significantly at the Berlin State Opera) and at several other leading opera venues in Germany and Austria. Such important overseas theatres as The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, and La Scala, Milan, heard him sing during the 1930s, when his international reputation attained its peak. He partnered many of Germany's best sopranos, mezzo-sopranos, tenors and basses of the inter-war years, while Bruno Walter completed a triumvirate of lastingly famous conductors with whom he appeared (the others being, as we have seen, Toscanini and Beecham).
Lacking the sheer vocal amplitude of his heroic baritone contemporaries Hans Hotter and Rudolf Bockelmann, Hüsch concentrated instead on investing his singing with an unfailingly smooth line, a rounded tone and beautifully lucid diction in the manner of a celebrated German lyric-baritone rival, Heinrich Schlusnus, who was his senior by 13 years. Nowhere were these exemplary vocal qualities better displayed than in his pioneering, pre-war, 78-rpm Lieder records. On close listening, recordings show that Hüsch chose to intentionally 'under-sing', never pushing his upper register or inflating his tone beyond the limits of its natural resonance.
After World War II, Hüsch, whose political naïveté during the Third Reich (and, in particular, his closeness to Rosalind von Schirach, the sister of prominent Nazi Baldur von Schirach) was unlikely to endear him to the victorious Allies, mostly abandoned concert and operatic appearances, preferring to concentrate on teaching.
In 1977 through to 1981, Hüsch taught at the Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana, where his private studio was small. During his three years in Bloomington, he offered students a seminar in Lieder interpretation for three days each week. Hüsch paired select singers and pianists in specific repertoire from Mozart and Beethoven to Kilpinen and Pfitzner.
Following Bloomington and a few guest masterclasses at University of Texas at Austin, he accepted a teaching post at University of Colorado Boulder for the 1982 academic year.
In 1984, at the age of 83, he died in Munich.”
- Ned Ludd