Last Saturday’s Vocalise was dedicated to the legendary baritone, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau who died at his home in Bavaria this past Friday. In most cases “Legendary” is a worn out term which has been used to posthumously describe someone whether he or she deserves it or not. Fischer-Dieskau was called a legend, and rightfully so, within his own lifetime of 86 years.
The first time I heard Schubert Lieder was as a child on my mother’s scratchy, well loved records of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. The experience was a little dark, muted and somber. As an adult my next exposure to Schubert’s multifaceted art songs was with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. This was a new and magical world! Fischer-Dieskau possessed a great instrument, but there was something else as well that allowed him to convey the essence of these songs in a compelling way. Fischer-Dieskau maintained that he loved the written word and poetry was fuel for him. I wonder though about the effect his early life had on his profound understanding and empathy for the text and music he chose to perform.
I speak only for myself, in a small but heart felt way, knowing that there is a multitude of individuals all over the world who were, are and will be deeply touched by the legacy of this legendary baritone.
Baritone, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, legendary, Lieder, Schubert