Dietrich Fischer’s Dieskau’s final record release

Dietrich Fischer’s Dieskau’s final record release


norman lebrecht

July 14, 2017

It’s the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

I spent a morning with the great baritone in his Berlin home a couple of years before he died. Fischer-Dieskau was in morose mood. His wife Julia was out teaching, he told me twice, seeming to resent her absence. ‘I did too much,’ he confessed, regretting his dominance in Lieder, a field in which he covered not just German song but English, Russian and French…

Read on here.

And here.


  • Orchestra Manager says:

    Dear Norman,

    I think you merged to wonderful artists into one: Robert Holl is a singer and Hartmut Höll one of the very best “Lieder-Begleiter”. I am sure you ment him in your review.

  • Melisande says:

    I assume Dieskau sang with the pianist Hartmut Höll. The Dutch bass-baritone is called Robert Holl.

  • Nick says:

    Fischer Dieskau…one of the greatest Schubert and Schumann interpreters and discoverers of our time. Irreplaceable! Whether Moore, Richter, Höll or any other pianist with him he always was like a diamond in the best velvet box, pampered, loved and carried through.
    A Great Artist.

    • Gordon Davies says:

      “like a diamond in the best velvet box, pampered, loved and carried through”. That’s got to be the Simile of the Month!

  • Bram Stoker says:

    I seem to recall a BBC interview DFD gave some years ago on a Sunday afternoon, in which he was disappointed in the decline of “house music”, that is music performed at home rather than the electronic stuff from the 1980s! Lieder an art form which was born in the early 19th century is now almost extinct. Schubert, Schumann, Brahms composed their lieder to be sung in private houses, not vast concert halls, of course they did have some trained singers, like retired opera singer J M Vogl, for Schubert and Julius Stockhausen for Brahms. In their day there was no radio, TV and recording industry, you either did it yourself with friends at home, hired in performers or went to a concert the latter was only just getting organised. Singers like DFD pioneered singing lieder in a sense out of context in big concert halls, the challenge for singers today is to recapture the house music idiom, which these lieder composers intended.

    The death knell for house music was radio, TV and the recording industry. Prior to these sheet music sales was an important income for composers, until record sales became the revenue stream. Only in countries with a living folk tradition, like Ireland, Scotland, Romania, Austria, Hungary did house music survive. Composers became full time academics in the 20th century and did not write to please audience’s ears, which is why we don’t have any music worth listening to now, as Bernard Shaw rightly remarked, those who can do, those who can’t teach. You do not need a PhD to compose, Schubert, Beethoven and Brahms managed without one.

  • Furzwängler says:

    I recall with particular affection Fischer Dieskau’s recording (still available reissued on a 3-CD boxed set) of a wide selection of Liszt songs, many of which are ravishingly beautiful and quite unjustly neglected. A bonus is that Dieskau included Der Traurige Mönch one of Liszt’s three so-called ‘Monodramen’ – spoken text with piano accompaniment, in other words Sprechgesang many years before Schönberg.

  • Una says:

    Yes, it’s HH not RH. Just a slip.of thought from Norman as it’s clearly on the sleeve that Norman has posted.

  • Leon Levitt says:

    My only life experience with F-D was a performance in which he sang two brief lieder and walked off without an encore or a second section to his performance. He was greeted with boos for that, but he conveyed a look of scorn at the complainers, that I took as possibly one of the type of Germanic superiority much in evidence at that time.