Every day we see the turning of the circle of life with new beginnings and the end of seasons. Some tragedies are as small as the world of one person and other tragedies have an impact on societies, whole civilisations or the whole of earth’s inhabitants. The large scale tragedies cause us to remember exactly where we were and what we were doing at that specific moment in time when we heard the news. Personal losses are privately mourned and we make peace in time with the reality of life and its counterpart.
Then there is a third loss: the unexplainable mourning of those who we never knew, those who will remain in our consciousness because we associate them with their legacies that span beyond the bounderies of mortality. When we read Beethoven’s Heiligenstadt Testament, we feel his frustration, desperation, his pain and anger. Reading the last letters of Schubert bring us closer to the man himself and we are bound to him by our empathy.
Today I walked off stage after a recital of Mozart and Brahms violin sonatas with my colleague Sebastian Müller at St. James’ Piccadilly. Thanks to technology I heard the news as it spread across the world. I felt compelled to sit quietly for a moment and consider the life of a great artist who passed away today. One of my earliest memories of Lieder is that of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau singing and even in my juvenile ignorance this man commanded respect by the way he sang and phrased a language and genre, which I would learn to adore in time.
Thus here my humble tribute to the great baritone of our time who will stay alive in the realm of music as long as we have his recordings and writings.
R.I.P. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (28 May 1925 – 18 May 2012)