Farewell to Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

There are few performers of classical music who I appreciate as much as Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, the great lieder and opera singer.

Here is a post I wrote celebrating his 85th birthday, two years ago.

Fischer-Dieskau has passed away at age 87.

It is through the Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s recordings of Schubert’s lieder (songs) that I discovered this rich and emotional repertoire. Fischer-Dieskau’s recordings of these songs remain one of my favorite sets of music.

I was only able to see him perform twice, both times in Paris. Once he sang Schumann lieder, and I was in the 5th row center at the Salle Pleyel. Watching him sing, seeing his stage presence, and hearing his voice live was an astounding experience. The second time he performed as a soloist in Beethoven’s Mass in C with others, and it was much less personal. But his singing alone on stage with a pianist is probably the most vulnerable type of singing one can do, yet he did it with mastery. (As his many recordings, including videos, show.)

Here’s a video of Fischer-Dieskau singing one of Schubert’s finest songs. (Thanks to Alex Ross for finding this one.)