His childhood and adolescence were sad and poverty-stricken.
He was misanthropic, introverted and tended to inordinate
thrift and self-sufficiency. He was an autodidact and had an
almost fanatical love for his mother. He was the greatest
Evangelist (in Bach's "St. Matthews Passion") and the most
spiritual, angelic lied and oratorio singer.
His recording of Schubert's "Im Abendrot" is not from this world.