RIP: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, famed classical singer

RIP: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, famed classical singer

From The New York Times:

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, the German baritone whose beautiful voice and mastery of technique made him the 20th century’s pre-eminent interpreter of art songs, died on Friday at his home in Bavaria. He was 86.

His wife, the soprano Julia Varady, confirmed his death to the German press agency DPA.

Mr. Fischer-Dieskau was by virtual acclamation one of the world’s great singers from the 1940s to his official retirement in 1992, and an influential teacher and orchestra conductor for many years thereafter.

He was also a formidable industry, making hundreds of recordings that pretty much set the modern standard for performances of lieder, the musical settings of poems first popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. His output included the many hundreds of Schubert songs appropriate for the male voice, the songs and song cycles of Schumann and Brahms, and those of later composers like Mahler, Shostakovich and Hugo Wolf. He won two Grammy Awards, in 1971 for Schubert lieder and in 1973 for Brahms’s “Die Schöne Magelone.”

Mr. Fischer-Dieskau had sufficient power for the concert hall, and for substantial roles in his parallel career as a star of European opera houses. But he was essentially a lyrical, introspective singer whose effect on listeners was not to nail them to their seatbacks, but rather to draw them into the very heart of song.

• Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau: