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Saturday, May 19, 2012

In Memoriam: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (28 May 1925 – 18 May 2012)

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Legendary German baritone and one of the most recorded voices of the Twentieth Century, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, passed away yesterday and has left the operatic world all the more poorer with his passing.

Equally at home in Opera, Lieder and Oratorio, in many different languages, his lyric baritone was used with keen musical intelligence and he successfully recorded and performed many roles generally considered to heavy for his relatively light voice.  

I will always admire his recordings, I have collected them from the very start of my musical journey.  My father bought me a copy of Karl Bohm's recording of Die Zauberflote back when I was about 11 or 12, it was my first opera on record.  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau was of course Papageno and I have never found a better performance.  

He was inducted into the Gramophone Magazine Hall of Fame only very recently.  I leave you with a quote by Thomas Hampson, who sums up the contribution of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau to the world of music most eloquently-

"Few artists archieve the level of recognition, admiration and influence of Fischer-Dieskau, and even fewer live to see, that influence realised during their own lifetime. Ushering in the modern recording era, he challenged our percepton and processes of how recordings could be made, explored the possibilities of modern recording and exploited the potential for popularity of classical music; and all this while setting standarts of artistic archievment, integrity, risk-talking, and the aestetic ideal that became our new norm. Whetever we bask in the beauty of his tone, revere the probing, questioning power of his intellect, of simply wonder at the astonishing physical abilities throught all that he has archieved in his long recording career, we must also pause and say THANK YOU to this great artist, whose legacy, like a great and bright star lighting the way for those who follow in his passion for singing, is exemplary in every way." - Thomas Hampson, May 2012, Hall of Fame, Gramophone Magazine

Goodbye, Maestro and thank you.

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