Over the years, and in these pages, I have been critical of Norman Lebrecht, but after listening to his interview with Thomas Quasthoff, I have a fresh opinion of him. The interview is mostly Quasthoff, but Lebrecht seems to have helped him feel comfortable enough to be honest and forthcoming about all sorts of very personal subjects. That is a talent in itself. I look forward to hearing the rest of Lebrecht's BBC interviews.
I think that bloggery is better for Lebrecht's purposes than bookery (though I haven't read his fiction), and he seems to be very successful in engaging people in dialogue concerning the ever-changing (and clearly not dying) world of music.
The sad news that led me to write this post (which I read on Slipped Disc), is that Quasthoff is retiring from performing. He's only 52 (my age), and he's retiring for health reasons. The interview clearly shows that he is far more than "just a voice" or even "just a musician." He is a person of serious substance and serious intellect.