As I was at work last week when I heard the news of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s passing, I did not have access to my personal music library, which, as I mentioned, includes a substantial number of that great singer’s recordings. So, at that time I could not include a specific musical clip I wished to. Now I can.
Like so much of the great Lieder repertoire, Fischer-Dieskau recorded Brahms’ Vier ernste Gesänge multiple times, beginning in 1949. In my library I have at least three of these recordings, including one with Daniel Barenboim, another with Wolfgang Sawallisch, and this one—the earliest—with Hertha Klust. This song is Brahms’ Op. 121, No. 3, and is a prime example of what I love about that composer’s music. The German text translates roughly:
O death, how good is your sentence to a man
Who is needy and who fails in strength,
Who is in extreme old age and distracted in all things,
And who hopes for no greater fortune, nor waits on better days.
O death, how good is your sentence.
Here, then, is a young man, conveying the resignation of an old man:
In a series of future posts, I will explore Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s recorded legacy, beginning next week with Schumann’s Dichterliebe. Meanwhile, don’t miss the video clip from the PBS Newshour that I added to my earlier post.
Filed under: Music on May 23rd, 2012