Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

Biography

Born: May 28, 1925   Died: May 18, 2012   Country: Germany  
During a career that spanned nearly five decades, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau established himself as one of the most accomplished performing artists of the twentieth century. He is widely considered to have been the finest modern interpreter of German lieder, and his extensive operatic career was noted for fine musicianship and powerful characterization. He also made important contributions as an author, conductor, and teacher.

Born in
Read more Berlin on May 28, 1925, Fischer-Dieskau began his vocal studies at the age of 16, only shortly before being drafted into the Nazi Wehrmacht. After two years as a prisoner of war, the young baritone returned to Germany and soon made his oratorio debut in Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem, and his stage debut in Verdi's Don Carlos (Posa). Engaged as the 'house' lyric baritone (kammersänger) at the Berlin Städtische Oper, he also began making guest appearances at the Vienna Staatsoper, and the Salzburg Festival. In the early 1950's he began a series of engagements at the Bayreuth festival, establishing a lasting relationship with the music of Wagner, especially the role of Wolfram in Tannhäuser. In the following decades, Fischer-Dieskau would traverse an impressive range of operatic roles, including Don Giovanni in Mozart's eponymous work, Mittenhofer in Hans Werner Henze's Elegy for Young Lovers, and John the Baptist in Strauss' Salome; his most critically admired performances were as Don Alfonso in Cosě fan tutte, Germont pčre in La Traviata, and Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro.

Fischer-Dieskau's recital career began equally early and impressively -- with a 1948 Radio Berlin broadcast of Schubert's Winterreise; however, it was with his first concerts and recordings with the English collaborative pianist Gerald Moore that his international fame began to spread. Together, the two of them recorded every song of Schubert, Schumann, and Wolf (excluding those few that are generally reserved for the female voice) and considerable portions of those by Brahms, Strauss, Loewe, and Beethoven. This catalogue of repertoire is impressive for its sheer size, and even more so for its consistent excellence; while opinions have sometimes diverged on the subjective merits of Fischer-Dieskau's voice, there is no question that his performances of lieder represented the perfect wedding of poetry and lyricism -- the very essence of the lied. While his collaboration with Gerald Moore was singular in its productivity, Fischer-Dieskau was by no means a "one-pianist" man. His work with accompanist Jörg Demus represents an impressive catalogue of its own, and he made memorable appearances and recordings with many other leading musicians, such as Alfred Brendel, Vladimir Horowitz, Daniel Barenboim, and Sviatoslav Richter. Also, his repertoire was by no means limited to works of the Romantic masters; he has championed the works of lesser-known composers, such as Othmar Schoeck. His cumulative body of recorded performances is stunning, perhaps best illustrated by the number of pieces of which his discography contains multiple (sometimes as many as four!) performances. A number of composers wrote works for him, the most notable of which is Benjamin Britten (Songs and Proverbs of William Blake), whose War Requiem the baritone also premiered in 1962.

Certainly Fischer-Dieskau was best characterized by his performances of works for voice and piano, in which his imagination, musicianship, and vocal timbre were showcased to the fullest. However, he made equal strides in the realm of orchestral lieder; his performances of Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Rückert Lieder, and Kindertotenlieder are some of the finest on record. Other works he performed with orchestra included the Michelangelo Sonnets of Dmitri Shostakovich, Brahms' German Requiem, and numerous cantatas of Bach and Telemann. Read less
Browse 1-14 of 14 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Daniel Barenboim: 5 Classic Albums
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 938424 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Robert Schumann,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim,  Jacqueline Du Pré
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 2.
    Wagner: Scenes From Tannhauser, Lohengrin & Die Walkure
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 353032 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Peter Seiffert
    Conductor:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    CD: $7.99
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  • 3.
    Mozart: Adagio & Fugue, Piano Concerto no 18, Symphonies 30 & 32 / Lifschitz, Fischer-Dieskau
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 844121 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Konstantin Lifschitz
    Conductor:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra
    CD: $22.49
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  • 4.
    Brahms: Symphony No 4, Piano Concerto No 2 / Fischer-Dieskau, Lifschitz
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 810102 Release Date: 07/27/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Konstantin Lifschitz
    Conductor:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Concert House Orchestra
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  • 5.
    Schumann 200th Anniversary - Orchestral Music
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 09037 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Rainer Jurkiewicz,  Andrew Joy,  Kathleen Putnam,  Joachim Pölti  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Vonk,  Riccardo Muti,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle
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    CD: $24.99
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  • 6.
    Schumann: Concertos
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 964849 Release Date: 03/01/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Paul Tortelier,  Gerd Seifert,  Christopher Kohler,  Manfred Klier  ... 
    Conductor:  Yan Pascal Tortelier,  Klaus Tennstedt,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 7.
    Schumann: Cello Concerto, Piano Concerto, Etc/ Du Pré, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics Encore   Catalog: 74755 Release Date: 03/25/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim,  Jacqueline Du Pré
    Conductor:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Wagner: Wesendonk Lieder, Arias / Varady, Fischer-dieskau
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 467981 Release Date: 09/16/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Julia Varády
    Conductor:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
    CD: $22.49
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  • 9.
    Mahler: Das Lied Von Der Erde / Jänicke, Elsner, Et Al
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 494001 Release Date: 07/25/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Yvi Jänicke,  Christian Elsner
    Conductor:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Strauss: Arias / Julia Varady, Fischer-Dieskau
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 511991 Release Date: 03/01/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Julia Varády
    Conductor:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
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  • 11.
    Wagner: Scenes from Tannhauser, Lohengrin, Die Walkure / Varady, Seiffert
    Label: Emi Classics Special Import   Catalog: 56138 Release Date: 09/10/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Peter Seiffert,  Julia Varády
    Conductor:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Chorus
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    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 12.
    Verdi: Heroines Vol 2 / Julia Varady, Fischer-dieskau
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 414961 Release Date: 06/18/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Julia Varády,  Stella Doufexis
    Conductor:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Verdi Heroinen Vol 1 / Julia Varady, Fischer-dieskau
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 186951 Release Date: 09/19/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Julia Varády,  Lothar Odinius
    Conductor:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Orchestra
    CD: $22.49
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  • 14.
    Haydn: Cello Concerto, Symphony No 104 / D Fischer-dieskau
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 221901 Release Date: 06/28/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Performer:  Wolfgang Boettcher
    Conductor:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Salzburg Mozarteum Camerata Academica
    CD: $19.99
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