"If you want to know how to make a phrase, listen to the great singers!" a teacher once admonished me.
By the "great singers," I'm pretty sure he did not mean any singers that I'd ever heard in my then-20-year-old life: the pop singers on the radio, the choir at church. He probably didn't even mean the singers from the musicals I loved, though perhaps a few came close.
I know what he meant by now, though. He meant this guy:
The famous German baritone, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau died Friday in Bavaria at age 86.
I will list some obituaries below, if you would like to read about his fascinating life. But on the topic of his music, many violinists admired Fischer-Dieskau's great voice and artistry, including Joshua Bell. I would advise us all do this:
For a moment today, clear your head of all the modern singing that bombards us in every grocery store, on every radio station, in every corner of our lives. Strange sounds have infiltrated our concept of the human voice: thin and amplified, out-of-tune and auto-tuned. Stop and behold Fischer-Dieskau's voice from the past: its ease, its depth, its range and rich quality. Its beauty is fully human; it certainly needs no electronic regimentation. You may well find yourself on Youtube all day; and we do thank the Internet for that!
To start you off: here is Fischer-Dieskau singing one of my favorite lieder: a song by Brahms about nostalgia. Its theme of a return to childhood and longing to rest seem an appropriate memoriam for a man whose long life was full of great difficulty, who created much beauty in the world.
Then, you can go at it all day with hours upon hours of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau on Youtube!
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Here is the New York Times obituary:
The Guardian's Ian Bostridge puts Fischer-Dieskau's life in historical context:Tweet
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