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Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau: A Biography (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – Februar 1998

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Amazon.de

This book celebrates the art and life of the great German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau from his debut recital in 1947 to his retirement almost five decades later. Born in 1925 into an upper middle-class, intellectual Berlin family that prized patriotism, culture, literature, and music, he first made his name as a lieder singer, but recordings and operatic engagements soon followed. His repertoire was enormous, ranging from Bach cantatas to many premieres of contemporary works. This biography documents the scope of Fischer-Dieskau's unceasing performing and recording activity; it enumerates his operatic roles, describing his musical, literary, and historical preparation for "becoming the character he impersonated." It also discusses the singer's vocal and musical working methods, often quoting his own words from his books and letters, notably his famously controversial views on the relationship of words and music, and the tension between his inquiring intellect and his emotional musical response.

Dominated by a sense of artistic responsibility, Fischer-Dieskau worked obsessively in pursuit of perfection, gaining stimulation and renewal by frequent changes of accompanists. To satisfy his constant need for more self-expression, he took up writing, conducting, painting, and teaching. Inevitably, his personal relationships and private life were subordinated to the relentless demands of his life onstage. In his memoirs, Fischer-Dieskau confesses: "I worshipped my profession and my career; I was under the spell of opera and my recitals."

Of his four marriages, the first ended in tragedy when his beloved young wife died in childbirth; the next two ended in divorce; and the last one, to soprano Julia Varady--with whom he has often appeared in opera and concert--has given both lasting happiness. Not surprisingly, his three sons inherited his artistic gifts and courageously followed in his footsteps as stage designer, conductor, and cellist. By their own account, they grew up mostly without their father, who himself recalls isolated moments of shared activity.

The book suffers from repetitiousness and chronological incoherence. Neunzig has an irritating habit of explicating quotes both before and afterward, and of exaggerating the obstacles the singer encountered on his meteoric rise to fame and subsequent illustrious career. The biography's greatest flaw is its lack of objectivity: obviously written by a starstruck admirer, it is an uncritical hymn of praise; indeed, the constant hyperbole becomes self-defeating. Even the copious quotes from reviews and comments on the singer's performances are carefully chosen to express approbation; adverse responses are brushed off, though there are excerpts from his own replies to his critics. Yet despite Neunzig's adulation, his portrait of a great artist cannot conceal that total dedication to a successful career can lead to total self-absorption; indeed the singer himself was aware of the danger of "avoiding reality and rejecting life's day-to-day affairs." This includes not only the familiar controversy about the separation of art and politics but the special problems of living in Germany after the rise of Nazism. Though Neunzig clearly states his own opposition to the regime, Fischer-Dieskau's views are expressed mostly in assertions of kinship with idealistic operatic characters, and complaints about the discomforts and deprivations of life in the army, POW camps, and postwar Berlin, for which anyone who survived the war on the other side hardly feels much sympathy. A single paragraph recounts the 13-year-old's shock at finding a Jewish shop smashed, and another the "elimination" by the Nazis of a handicapped older brother; the reader is left to infer the singer's political attitude.

The book is written in a somewhat heavy style, perhaps partly due to the translation, and includes a chronology of Fischer-Dieskau's life, lists of his books and innumerable CDs, and many excellent photographs, on and off stage. --Edith Eisler

Synopsis

A comprehensive and frank account of the baritone, writer, painter, teacher and conductor's career, from his debut in Verdi's Don Carlos in 1948 to his farewell concert appearance in 1992. The prominent Lieder singer of his generation, Fischer-Dieskau also had a distinguished career on the operatic stage and first came to prominence in performances

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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Despite nearly 50 years of performing before the public, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau has remained a rather mysterious figure, and this biography does nothing to change that impression. The more one seeks the private Fischer-Dieskau, the more he retreats behind a preoccupation, more accurately, an obsession with art. On the other hand, as this biography confirms, no one has made the essence of what he is more evident and accessible than Fischer-Dieskau. Neunzig traces the development of F-D the artist, pursuing the influences and events that shaped one of the most talented and controversial musical performers of the 20th century, and he makes it clear that the conflicts and contradictions were there from the beginning, that they are, in fact, the forces that drive him. This book has a lot to offer those who know relatively little about F-D and are willing to put up with its reverential tone, which hasn't exactly been diminished by the equally effusive translation of Kenneth S. Whitton. However, if what you want is a serious, scholarly consideration of how Fischer-Dieskau became the man and artist he is, you are doomed to disappointment. Natterings about genius , no matter how flattering, just aren't sufficient.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta) (Kann Kundenrezensionen aus dem "Early Reviewer Rewards"-Programm beinhalten)

Amazon.com: 3.3 von 5 Sternen 3 Rezensionen
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau 19. Februar 2014
Von Theodora Nikos - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
There is nothing more than I can say that hasn't been said. However,, Thank God we are living in a Time that records and radios and screen that enables us tp enjoy of his GREAT GIFT,

He was a very gifted human being who shared his gift wth us.

Thank you Mr. Fischer-Dieskau

Sincerely T. Nikos
5 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Frustrating glimpses of a fascinating man and artist. 20. Oktober 1999
Von Celia A. Sgroi - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Despite nearly 50 years of performing before the public, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau has remained a rather mysterious figure, and this biography does nothing to change that impression. The more one seeks the private Fischer-Dieskau, the more he retreats behind a preoccupation, more accurately, an obsession with art. On the other hand, as this biography confirms, no one has made the essence of what he is more evident and accessible than Fischer-Dieskau. Neunzig traces the development of F-D the artist, pursuing the influences and events that shaped one of the most talented and controversial musical performers of the 20th century, and he makes it clear that the conflicts and contradictions were there from the beginning, that they are, in fact, the forces that drive him. This book has a lot to offer those who know relatively little about F-D and are willing to put up with its reverential tone, which hasn't exactly been diminished by the equally effusive translation of Kenneth S. Whitton. However, if what you want is a serious, scholarly consideration of how Fischer-Dieskau became the man and artist he is, you are doomed to disappointment. Natterings about genius, no matter how flattering, just aren't sufficient.
4 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Just the facts, ma'am 14. November 2001
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
What a bore this book is. No sense of style (welll, it's a translation after all). No sense of narrative line. Just facts printed on the page. If you want the facts, here they are. I'd suggest you wait for the movie.
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