Sat 19 May, 2012 12:10 am
The Guardian wrote:
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, the distinguished German baritone, has died aged 86. His protean career was surely unique, as he sang and recorded more vocal music than any who came before. In particular, he broached more lieder (German songs) than any of his predecessors of the genre, his recordings running into the hundreds. Many of these songs he recorded several times over: for instance, he made no fewer than eight recordings of Schubert's Winterreise.
This truly incredible output was the result of an inquiring mind, an insatiable desire to tackle any and every song he could find, and to be a proselytiser for the art of lieder and singing in general, all these underlined by an instinctive wish to achieve perfection in his craft. More than that, he was an inspiration to the vast number of singers who have followed his example in this field, and made the singing of lieder a common experience. He also created an audience for this kind of music-making. Look at the concert and radio listings, look at the myriad discs of songs released in the CD age, and you will hear the benefits of his pioneering effort.
Fischer-Dieskau was born in Berlin and studied there with the veteran lieder artist Georg Walter, then after the second world war with Hermann Weissenborn, who partnered him at the piano in early recitals. But many of his first successes were in opera in Berlin. He made his stage debut there in 1948, as Posa in Don Carlos at the City Opera, where he would go on to be heard in most of the major baritone roles, Italian and German. From 1949 onwards he was appearing regularly at the Vienna State Opera and at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. He also sang at the Bayreuth festival from 1954 to 1956 as the Herald (Lohengrin), Wolfram (Tannhäuser), Kothner (Meistersinger) and Amfortas (Parsifal).