Just saw the dispiriting news that Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, the incomparable German baritone who set the gold standard for lieder singing, died Friday at 86.
I daresay he helped a lot of people appreciate lieder -- really appreciate it. When you heard Mr. Fischer-Dieskau's beautiful tone and incisive phrasing, you found yourself inside a song, living the lyrics, sensing the poetic images.
The baritone left a sizable mark on other repertoire, of course, including opera. His performance in the Britten "War Requiem" remains one of the most profound documents of 20th century musical art. His interpretations of Mahler were equally inspired.
He was simply one of those exceedingly rare vocal artists who could make you sit up and take notice, no matter what the music, and make you feel so very fortunate.
Here are just a couple of examples of the artistry of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, singing Schubert, Schumann and Mahler: