I was 16 when I discovered Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. He opened new worlds for me, unimagined worlds of great lyrical beauty and depth of feeling. One of my earliest LPs was of him singing Schumann's Dichterliebe, The Poet's Love. The sublime ritual, drawing the shiny vinyl from its white and yellow Deutsche Gramophon Gesellschaft (an incantation in itself) cover, placing the record with reverent fingers over the central pin of the turntable, gently lowering the pick-up arm, the slight swish of the stylus in the leading grooves, and then this new universe of feeling, of longing, sadness, regret, joy, love, bitterness, anger, exaltation, hope, despair - all the daily emotional fare of a passionate 16-year-old.
He led me from Schumann to Schubert, and then, later, to Brahms, Hugo Wolf and Richard Strauss. A matchless voice, masterly technique, a very great musician. Here he is with Schubert's An die Musik, To Music. It's a hymn to his own art. I can't hear it without feeling the starting tear.
And here he is in Schubert's Der Musensohn, The Son of the Muses, with words by Goethe. After singing of the onrush of his never-ending music-making and the expectations people have of him, in the last line he sings 'You beloved, noble Muses, when will I finally come to rest on your bosom?' I feel like that sometimes.
Someone on a French comment thread has said Je suis jaloux des anges, I'm envious of the angels. Exactly.