Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

1 minute read
Nate Rawlings

“Dietrich sings lieder. Fischer is the Bach specialist. And Dieskau stars in opera,” TIME wrote in 1977. “So goes the legend of the most subtle, intellectual and prolific baritone of the past 25 years.” Yet had Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau never set foot on an opera stage, he would still be remembered as one of the most prolific and powerful vocal performers of the 20th century. For all his success inhabiting the characters of Mozart, Verdi and Wagner, Fischer-Dieskau, who died May 18 at 86, rightfully earned much of his fame for his performances of lieder, German art songs with foundations in poetry, sung often with only a piano accompaniment. He recorded at least 1,000 LPs and 3,000 individual songs–believed to be more than any other singer in music history–a fitting record for an artist who embodied vocal performance for half a century.

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