The baritone’s classic performances captured on video: Schubert, Schumann, Bach and more.

Schubert
The Erlking

German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (1925–2012) is widely considered the greatest lieder singer of the 20th century. His frequent duo partner, soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, once described him as “a born god who has it all”, and it’s easy to see why in this clip from the 1950s, early in his career. His searing intensity and robust tone make for a particularly thrilling, urgent rendition of Schubert’s  Der Erlkönig. The pounding repeated notes (played by Fischer-Dieskau’s longterm accompanist Gerald Moore) sound out hoofbeats as a father races through the forest with his young dying sun, who hears the calls of the evil Elf King luring him away from the world of the living. One of Fischer-Dieskau’s signature tunes.

Hugo Wolf
Der Feuerreiter

An intimate moment captured by the great music filmmaker Bruno Monsaingeon: one of Hugo Wolf’s most turbulent lieder,  Der Feuerreiter (The Fire Rider) with Sviatoslav Richter accompanying during a tour with Fischer-Dieskau.

This article is available to Limelight subscribers.

Log in to continue reading.

Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism.

Subscribe now