Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Author, Ruth Hein, Translator Fromm International $24.95 (376p) ISBN 978-0-88064-137-1
The great lieder singer, still splendidly active in his mid-60s, offers one of the more remarkable musical memoirs, particularly given the range of his experience. Growing up in pre-war Berlin under the regime he refers to simply as the Browns, he seems to have been a shy, gawky youth who came into his own only as a performer. As a soldier he was a POW in Italy, then returned to a devastated Germany. His account of the struggle rebuilding a shattered culture and of the postwar difficulties of German conductors and orchestras, is riveting. Later the book becomes a more conventional, anecdotal chronicle of the career of a world star, his encounters with conductors, accompanists, divas, composers, promoters. He has some offbeat views, however, being less than idolatrous of such icons as Bruno Walter and Otto Klemperer and warmly admiring of lesser-known (to Americans) maestros Wolfgang Sawallisch and Joseph Keilberth. Fischer-Dieskau has been receptive to contemporary music, in addition to his preeminence in Schubert and Wolf, and versatility as opera singer. He emerges from these pages as a notably thoughtful, intelligent artist whose story is only occasionally marred by the vanity apparently endemic to the breed. Performing Arts Book Club s election. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1970
Release date: 01/01/1955
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