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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