Celebrated German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau has died at the age of 86, just 10 days before his 87th birthday. One of the giants in the tradition of Lieder interpretation, Fischer-Dieskau featured prominently in Gramophone's Hall of Fame.
Fischer-Dieskau emerged as a performer following the Second World War, and established a style of interpretation that focused on the poetry allied to an extraordinary control of timbre, tone and colour which gave his performances remarkable insight. Often working with Walter Legge as producer, Fischer-Dieskau's style with its strong focus on the text is often compared with that of his contemporary and frequent partner Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. He was frequently partnered by Gerald Moore, Jörg Demus, Daniel Barenboim and Alfred Brendel, among other pianists. His work in the opera house was very wide-ranging, and linguistically broad (taking in Mozart, Strauss, Verdi, Wagner as well as modern works) but it was in song that he was unequalled. The baritone part in Britten's War Requiem was one of numerous works written for him.
Hear Fischer-Dieskau singing 'Der Lindenbaum' from Schubert's Winterreise with pianist Alfred Brendel below:
Fischer-Dieskau at 80 (Gramophone, July 2005) by John Tolansky