Friday, May 25, 2012

Sunday Classics preview: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (1925-2012)


SCHUMANN: "Widmung" ("Dedication"), Op. 25, No. 1
You my soul, you my heart,
you my joy, o you my pain,
you my world in which I live,
my heaven you in which I soar,
o you my grave in which
I have buried my sorrows forever.

You are rest; you are peace;
you were destined for me by heaven.
That you love me makes me feel worthy;
your glance has transfigured me;
you lift me, loving, above myself --
my good spirit, my better "I"!

You my soul, you my heart,
you my joy, o you my pain,
you my world, in which I live,
my heaven you, in which I soar --
my good spirit, my better "I"!
-- original German text by Friedrich Rückert

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone; Jörg Demus, piano. DG, recorded c1960

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone; Christoph Eschenbach, piano. DG, recorded 1974

by Ken

Baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau died last Friday, ten days short of his 87th birthday. Complex as my feelings about him as a performer are (and make no mistake, at his best he was one of the greats), he hasn't exactly been an unfamiliar presence here at Sunday Classics. I did a quick and probably only approximate count of the audio clips I've made for use here and came up with some 46 as a singer plus two as a conductor -- not including those added for this week's posts. (Both numbers will be going up.)

I can't think of a better way to remember Fischer-Dieskau than by rehearing the earlier of the two "Widmung" performances reprised above from a November 2011 post called "And then came 'Widmung'," where I spoke of the "vocal suppleness and tonal radiance that for me makes this a dream performance of this great song." (In the later recording we can hear what a difference the considerably rougher condition of the voice makes in the singer's interpretive choices, though I am rather taken by the greater contrast between the faster tempo for the outer sections and the slower one for the central "Du bist die Ruh'" section.)

This week I'm not going to attempt any proper appraisal -- we'll settle for a remembrance. And in the click-through we've got two sublime leave-taking numbers we've heard before, in a March 2011 post called "Sunday, Bloody Sunday and the depths of Mozart's humanity," performed by other people, but now we'll hear them sung by ensembles that include Fischer-Dieskau.


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At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Nicholas Ruiz III said...

Ken, I don't frequent the Sunday classics posts as often as I'd like to - but whenever I do, I'm never disappointed. Keep up the great work.

In a more, postmodern bent, Peter Gabriel's New Blood Orchestra project I enjoy; you may, too:

Darkness (w/New Blood Orchestra):


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