Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, perhaps the greatest Baritone of all time, died yesterday at his home in Berg near Starnberg and just south of München in Bavaria. This just days before, what would have been his 87th Birthday on May 28th.
An honorary citizen of Berlin – the city of his birth – will be buried in the capital of Germany in a private ceremony amoungst his immediate family and close friends early next week.
Many tributes have been sent on the demise of this great German artist -
Alan Blyth in the Guardian today wrote - http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/may/18/dietrich-fischer-dieskau
Ivan Hewett in the Telegraph yesterday included a great photo taken last year and wrote – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classicalmusic/9275708/Dietrich-Fischer-Dieskau-touchstone-of-perfection.html
We reprint our very own glowing tribute below to this great German artist. It is taken from this very same blog and was written 2 years ago on his birthday on 28th May 201o.
Happy Birthday Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau + Thank You! – World famous Baritone turns 85 today – is, and will always be a Berliner !
One of the world’s great lieder-singers of the 20th century, setting new standards and influencing a whole generation – the life-long Berliner Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau turns 85 today – a prolific and extraordinary artist with an almost 50 year singing career.
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau was born in Berlin on May 28th 1925.
He may not especially welcome or enjoy the birthday event today – he has made it clear in the past that he did not particularly like becoming 80, nor 70 for that matter. He called them the start of the ‘final episode’ – and would prefer if he could ignore them!
However celebrate we will because in doing so we recognize and pay tribute to a living cultural treasure of Germany – a leading light of post-war classical music in Germany, and the world of vocal music internationally.
Fischer-Dieskau, -, reached the height of his career between 1950’s and 1980’s, and has left an amazing record of vocal history of classical music recorded sound.
It has been more than 20 years since the most influential lieder singer of this last century left the limelight of public performances to seek comfortable retirement in the Berlin house where he has lived for more than 50 years.
He has recorded the entire songs of Schubert, Brahms and Richard Strauss, most of those by Mozart, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Liszt and Wolf, along with many other composers as diverse as Bach to Henze.
He has sung and performed with the best musical artists of the last century – pianists, Alfred Brendel, Sviatoslav Richter and his ‘default’ accompanist Gerald Moore; composer Benjamin Britten and the conductors Beecham, Karajan, Kleiber and Klemperer. His favourite conductor and someone whom he respected professionally, his greatest musical influence above all others was the conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler. His favourite singer was the famous Wagnerian Hans Hotter.[ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Hotter]
As a lifelong Berliner, in both good times and bad times, Fischer-Dieskau can remember one particular concert in 1943, when he was 17, in his first public performance of , Schubert’s Winterreise.
It was being held municipal hall of the Berlin Zehlendorf, but had to be stopped mid-way because of a bombing raid!
The audience of around 200 along with the artists had to go into the bomb-shelter cellars and then continued the concert when the raid was over!
Looking bad at his life, he relates in his semi-autobigraphy ‘Reverberations: The Memoirs of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’ [ a very good book by the way ], translated by Ruth Hein. Fromm International, 1989. (ISBN 0-88064-137-1) that while he has been a fulfilled artist and father, his life has also known great sorrow - caused most of all by his war years as a 16 yr old conscript into the losing Hitler army of 1943 and later the death of his first wife.
As a conscripted soldier he was captured in Italy by American troops at the end of the war and spent almost 2 years as a POW.
While openly critical of many of today’s generations of singers – he is also openly laudatory of many great singers whom he adores today – but his admiration does remain critical – which is only to be expected from a great artist.
However contemplatively looking back at his life, he admits to not being unhappy and says in the end it is worthwhile to have had a life with good consequences.
For more info + photographs about Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
This blog is brought to you by …..OTA-Berlin Constituency Blog’ is part of OTA-Berlin ‘……the intelligent Apartment-Alternative to Hotels in Berlin’. The views of the article are those of the writer Mr W van Coeveren and not necessarily those of OTA-Berlin.
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau 1925 -2012 – World famous Baritone dies at age 86- was and will always be a Berliner !- by W van Coeveren from OTA Berlin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Germany License. If you use this article or parts of it, please refer to http://www.ota-berlin.de.
Tags: Alan Blyth in the Guardian today, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau 1925 -2012, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau dies, Great German Baritone Fischer-Dieskau passes on, Ivan Hewett in the Telegraph, World famous Baritone dies at age 86