REVERBERATIONS: The Memoirs of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

REVERBERATIONS: The Memoirs of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

For four decades, Fischer-Dieskau has reigned supreme as the foremost modern interpreter of lieder. He has also written several books (Wagner and Nietzsche, The Fischer-Dieskau Book of Lieder, and Schubert's Songs). Now, at age 62, he gives us these sensitive and intelligent memoirs. Fischer-Dieskau has always been impelled by multiple enthusiasms--serious music, art, poetry, literature--and his well-roundedness comes out in the deeply philosophic nature of the account here (especially when compared, say, to the recent musings of Jean-Pierre Rampal, Music, My Love, p. 820). Thus, he is able to comment on his recordings (he is the most recorded vocal artist of all time) as follows: ""it is . . .possible to acquire a kind of immortality by impressing songs on records. . .once such work is finished, these organs [voices, eyes, lungs] collapse, only to flutter away like swallows in the form of disks, coming to roost in many collections."" The author relates impressionistic snapshots of his lonely boyhood in Berlin, sometimes resorting to the no-less-intelligent diary jottings from his days in the German Army, including a stint as a prisoner of war, and his meteoric career as a young singer after war's end--when such names as Furtwangler, Barbirolli, Beecham, and Bohm reigned in the musical firmament. The author mourns that Furtwangler as a composer has been overlooked, sees Barbirolli as a rare romantic among modern conductors, and remarks that Karl Bohm's ""rage was so total and punitive that it was impossible to remember how quickly his good mood could be restored, forgetting and forgiving all."" Meanwhile, Fischer. Dieskau seems particularly forgiving of a disastrous Carnegie Halt fund-raiser when he was accompanied by a trembling Horowitz in a concert that ended with a star-studded ""Halleluia"" from Handel's ""Messiah"" in which, he remarked, ""I have never heard so many wrong notes."" A fine memoir from a fine artist.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Fromm