English tenor Ian Bostridge tells Rupert Christiansen how the late Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau came to inspire him.


Some 30 years ago, a 14-year-old schoolboy called Ian Bostridge was sitting in his first German lesson, when his teacher Richard Stokes had a brilliant idea: he would introduce the class to the glory of the language and the culture it inspired by playing a recording of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau singing Schubert’s setting of Goethe’s Erlkönig ballad.

For Bostridge, this would prove to be a life-changing moment.

Thunderstruck, he went on to become obsessed with German song in general and Fischer-Dieskau in particular, before himself becoming one of his generation’s leading lieder recitalists.