An overdue award for Brigitte Fassbender

An overdue award for Brigitte Fassbender


norman lebrecht

October 10, 2017

The German mezzo-turned-director is to receive one of the music industry’s most coveted awards for lifetime achievement. Brigitte Fassbender, 78, is being honoured with an Echo Klassik, it was announced today.

An outstanding performer in an age of outstanding performers, she made some 250 recordings and lived a life that was uniquely her own. She was the first woman to record the great Schubert song cycles, and she blazed many other trails for equality and diversity.

On retirement, she directed operas, ran festivals and taught countless singers.

And she was always such fun.

Possibly my favourite BBC Lebrecht Interview (the one where she came out).


  • Mike Schachter says:

    Terribly overdue, a great artist and person.

  • Sue says:

    I’ve always liked Fassbaender and that clip above made me terribly melancholic because I’m pretty sure it’s from the Kleiber production. Popp, of course, was Kleiber’s lover for a time and Brigitte a very close and warmly regarded friend.

    • RW2013 says:

      If you would watch this clip (six of the most moving minutes) to the end, you will see your beloved Kleiber.
      Fassbaender’s Berlin masterclasses at the Staatsoper are always phenomenal.

  • Ungeheuer says:

    Her Schwanengesang is one of the greatest accounts of the cycle ever. Not to be missed. Congratulations on the prize.

  • Bruce says:

    One of the greats. An overdue award, but better late than posthumous.

    • Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

      A singer of her caliber deserves something much better than a Youtube clip!
      How difficult is it to grab one of her CDs from your bookshelf and fire up your Hifi?!

      • Anon says:

        Go eat some Weißwurst with sweet mustard, your grumpiness.

        • Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

          Well, you can feel free to stick to your Nürnberger and soft drink from McDonald’s, which are for sure the perfect match to your lousy Youtube sound tracks and crappy plastic “multimedia” speakers.

          But I will grab a pair of Weißwurst from my trusted Metzger around the corner, listen B.Fassbinder’s recordings on my LINN system while drinking a bottle of Helles.

          Some genius people of our time invented the magic word of “diversity” to help people to find excuses for bad taste and low quality. Now everyone can proudly live the life he/she deserves. Das ist ja toll ~~

          • Anon says:

            Fassbaender. Her name is Fassbaender. Music happens in the brain, not in the stereo system. Bad taste and low quality are frustrating, but stuck-upness and bad manners are inexcusable.

          • Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

            You have good taste and manner, which is very fine. But why are you here? Apparently this is not the hang out place for noble people such as you.

          • Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

            Anon, what is wrong about suggesting people to grab a real CD instead of listening to a pirated sound track on Youtube? Is PC really more important than Correct? Just look at the things happening around you. And think again.

          • Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

            Whether she is called Fassbaender, Fassbender, Fassbinder, פסבנדר or ファスベンダー, is totally unimportant. In fact, it doesn’t make her Gesangkunst any worse even if she is just a no name Minnesänger. What people care is what she does, not who she is.

            Do you know the inventor of the Internet? Do you get a pop-up window shouting his name at you whenever you get connected? In fact, he didn’t even apply for a patent for it. On the other hand, instead of spending most of the time worshiping its creator, people just use it to democratize knowledge, to break communication barriers, to change the world. And that’s why what this man invented has become so great.

            Also, do you know who wrote the Bible? Do you see their names printed in eye-catching fancy big fonts on the cover? In order to spread their ideas, they chose to stepped back and served in the name of God. Sibelius also said, he was a tool of the God and just wrote down the music He dictated him.

            The world is not pushed forward by ICH-AGs, although they might be the loudest cry-babies out there. The biggest game changers certainly don’t have the biggest ego.

          • Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

            “Music happens in the brain, not in the stereo system.”
            So this time sound quality and acoustics are not important anymore. I hope you are not one of those schizophrenic people who have been complaining about their existing concert halls and screaming for ridiculously expensive new Prestigebau like a cry-baby.

          • Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

            Where is bitte the stuck-upness? In fact, CD is one of the most easily accessible and inexpensive cultural products nowadays. On the other hand, good, no-nonsense HiFi stereos are way more affordable than new concert halls! With the money spent on the Elbphilharmonie, we can donate every single concert-goer a decent HiFi system that will gives them endless joy and happiness for the rest of their life. Also consider how much money people are spending on gimmicky electronics gadgets like iWatch and smart tablets, which won’t last more than a few years.

            I’m not your mom. I don’t need to give you a bonbon or recite a fairy tail story before telling you what is right or wrong.

  • DAVID says:

    Sorry, better version here (DG recording with Irwin Gage)

  • Helen Cannell says:

    A great singer,interpreter, actress and person. Cannot think of an artist who deserves this more.

  • David Nice says:

    Please correct the misspelling of her name (twice) in the piece. Surprised no-one else has asked.