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Publication Timeline. Most widely held works about Martin Gregor-Dellin. Most widely held works by Martin Gregor-Dellin. Richard Wagner, his life, his work, his century by Martin Gregor-Dellin Book 12 editions published in in English and German and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide. Wie in einem guten Roman werden wir gleich zu Beginn mit Macht hineingezogen in die Geschichte Das ist auf wunderbare Weise gelungen. Gregor-Dellins Buch ist zum ersten Mal erschienen.

The lamp post by Martin Gregor-Dellin Book 47 editions published between and in 3 languages and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide. He preferred a realm dominated by the strength and savagery exemplified in the Norse sagas. The implications for the future of Germany were immense. In Tristan Wagner rejected the affirmative way he developed in the Ring.

Instead, he explored the dark side of love in order to plunge to the depths of negative experience. Tristan and Isolde, liberated and not doomed by a love potion they drink, willingly destroy a kingdom in order to love and to live; the sensual power of love is seen here as a destructive force, and the musical style of devious chromaticism and overwhelming orchestral pulsation is perfect for the messages of the drama. Wagner's egomania, never tolerable to anyone save those who could blind themselves totally to his flaws, came to the fore in the Meistersinger.

The tale of the young hero-singer who conquers the old order and forces a new, sensually more exciting style upon the tradition-bound Nuremburg society is the tale of the Ring in a slightly different guise. Wagner openly claimed Tristan to be the Ring in microcosm. It is obvious in the Meistersinger that Wagner identifies himself with the messianic figure of a young German poet and singer who wins the prize and is finally accepted as the leader of a new society.

In Parsifal Wagner identified himself even more intensely with the hero as the savior, the world's redeemer. The mysteries celebrated in Parsifal are those prepared for the glory of Wagner himself and not for any god. The scope of Wagner's vision is as breathtaking as his ideas and metaphysics are repugnant. Without the music his dramas would still be milestones in the history of Western thought. With the music, however, Wagner's importance is greatly magnified. He conceived a musical language that would most effectively present his philosophies.

He intended to batter down the resistant forces of reason by means of the music. Ideally, there would be an unending melody in which the voice and text are but part of the fabric, united with a magnificent orchestral web which becomes the action at a distinctly musical pace. The verbal language, often very obscure and tortured in syntax, is acceptable only through the music. For Wagner, music was in no sense additive, tacked onto the dramas after completion, anymore than it was an exercise in formal rhetoric, mere "art for art's sake.

It is no accident that Wagner's musical language is intended to dethrone reason and to ask for unquestioning acceptance of the composer's beliefs. In Wagner's reading of Schopenhauer, the musical ideal in his dramas would be not a reflection of the world but would be that very world itself. Such a summary of Wagner's creative life hardly hints at the extraordinary complications of his personal life which, in turn, affected his dramas. Wagner was that rare individual—a truly charismatic figure who overcame all adversities. During the years in Switzerland he managed to live for the most part on charity by means of the most amazing conniving and manipulation of people conceivable.

The Wesendonck family in particular contributed to his well-being, and Mathilde Wesendonck, one of Wagner's many mistresses, was credited with partially inspiring Tristan. Wagner's life after leaving Saxony was a constant series of intrigues, harangues, and struggles to overcome the indifference of the world, to find the ideal woman worthy of his love, and to be the worthy recipient of the benefits offered by the perfect patron. Although Wagner and Minna had lived apart for some time, Wagner did not marry Cosima until , almost a decade after Minna's death.

Over 30 years her husband's junior, Cosima was to be the dominating, guiding spirit in the Wagnerian shrine at Bayreuth until her death in The perfect patron proved to be Ludwig II, who literally rescued Wagner from debtors' prison and brought the composer to Munich with a near carte blanche for life and creativity. Once salvaged, however, Wagner was so offensive to all save the blindly adoring young monarch that he was forced to flee within 2 years. Ludwig, despite eventually disillusionment, remained a loyal supporter of Wagner.

It was his generosity that made possible the first festival performances of the Ring in Bayreuth in Never one of amenable disposition, Wagner held convictions of his own superiority that developed monomaniacal proportions as he grew older. He was intolerant of any questioning, of any failure to accept him and his creation. His household revolved completely in his orbit, and his demands upon wives, mistresses, friends, musicians, and benefactors were legion. Those who ran afoul of him were pilloried unmercifully, often unscrupulously, such as Eduard Hanslick, the distinguished Viennese music critic who became the model for Beckmesser in the Meistersinger.

When the young philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche first met Wagner, he thought he had found his way into the presence of a god, so radiant and powerful did Wagner seem to him. Later Nietzsche realized that the composer was something less than the perfection of the superman incarnate he had imagined him to be and turned away in disgust. Wagner never forgave Nietzsche for his desertion. In retrospect, Wagner's accomplishments outweigh both his personal behavior and his legacy for the 20th century. He has even managed to survive the predictable rejection by later generations of composers.

Wagner created such an effective, unique musical language, especially in Tristan and Parsifal, that the beginnings of modern music are often dated from these scores. Wagner demonstrated that music was not restricted to being pure formalism and abstract theoretical exploration but was a living, vibrant force capable of changing men's lives. He also proved that the music theater is a proper forum for ideas as opposed to being an arena for only escape and entertainment. And he demonstrated that a composer could rightfully take his place among the great revolutionary thinkers of Western civilization, questioning and attacking what seemed intolerable in traditional modes of behavior, experience, learning, and creation.

Together with Karl Marx and Charles Darwin, Wagner must be given his rightful due as one of the greatest forces in 19th-century cultural history.

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Richard Wagner

Wagner, Wilhelm Richard b Leipzig , ; d Venice , One of the handful of composers who changed the course of mus. Went to sch. Deeply interested in literature as youth. Wrote sym.

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Choral cond. Became cond. Married actress Minna Planer. Went to Paris Lived in poverty in Paris, doing mus. In returned to Dresden, where Rienzi was prod. Began project for series of operas based on Nibelungen sagas, completing lib. Sided with revolutionaries in uprising in Dresden. Fled to Liszt at Weimar after police issued warrant for his arrest, eventually settling in Zurich where he wrote series of essays, incl. Also continued to write text of his Nibelung operas and comp. In permanent financial straits, was helped by Julie Ritter and by Ger.

Under the influence of this emotional experience he wrote lib. In visited London as cond. Wife Minna left him not for first time in because of Wesendonck affair but rejoined him in Allowed to re-enter Ger. Heard Lohengrin comp. Amnesty granted from Saxony Work resumed on Nibelung operas under stimulus of Ludwig's enthusiasm. Opposition to Wagner in Munich political circles led to his departure from Munich and his settling at the villa of Tribschen , Lucerne, where Cosima, having borne him 2 daughters, joined him in Minna having died in and Cosima's marriage being annulled in the year in which she gave birth to Wagner's son Siegfried , Wagner and Cosima were married in In persuaded Bayreuth municipal authority to grant land for erection of th.

Toured Ger. Bayreuth th. In cond. From , suffered series of heart attacks, fatal one occurring in Venice on 13 Feb. Buried at Wahnfried. Wagner's mus. His influence, good and bad, on countless other composers is still a prime factor a century after his death.

He wrote the texts of all his operas, reading copiously in the sources of the legends he selected as subjects and writing a prose sketch, then the poem lib. He was inspired by the Ger. Romantic spirit of Weber's operas, and to some extent by the grandiose operatic aims of Meyerbeer, whom he despised. In Liszt he found a fellow-spirit from whom he learned much, as he did from Berlioz. But he surpassed them all in the single-mindedness with which he pursued his dream of an art form in which mus. With the chromaticism of Tristan he took tonality to its limits and beyond, and opened the way for the Schoenbergian revolution.

Philosophical and psychological undertones contribute immensely to the spell of the Tristan mus. Wagner brought to a fine art the use of Leitmotiv to depict not only characters but their emotions, and wove them into an orch. His operas also required a new technique of singing and a new breed of singers with the intelligence to convey the subtleties of his art.

In a sense Wagner was a dead-end, since he was a unique genius. The sheer mastery of The Ring , the sustaining of such an imposing achievement at a white-heat of inspiration for something like 15 hours of mus. But opera could never be the same after him: he made it the vehicle for the expression of the most complex emotional and psychological issues, but, being first and foremost a musician, these are still secondary to the hypnotic power of the mus. Mottl; arr. Henze for high v. The German operatic composer Richard Wagner was one of the most important figures of nineteenth-century music.

Wagner was also a crucial figure in nineteenth-century cultural history for both his criticism and polemical writing, or writing that attacks established beliefs. Raised along with eight siblings, his father, Friedrich, died shortly after Richard's birth, and within the year his mother, Johanna, married Ludwig Geyer. There is still some controversy as to whether or not Geyer, a traveling actor, was Wagner's real father. As a child, Wagner showed little talent or interest in anything except for writing poetry.

Wagner's musical training was largely left to chance until he was eighteen, when he studied with Theodor Weinlig in Leipzig, Germany, for a year. Ludwig van Beethoven — was his major idol at this time. He was music director of the theater in Magdeburg from to , where his next work, Das Liebesverbot Forbidden Love , loosely based on William Shakespeare 's — Measure for Measure was performed in That year he married Minna Planner, a singer-actress active in local theatrical life.

In Wagner became the first music director of the theater in Riga, Russia now the capital of Latvia , where he remained until He then set out for Paris , France , where he hoped to make his fortune. Wagner later set to music another version of this tale. Wagner returned to Germany, settling in Dresden in , where he was in charge of the music for the court chapel. Rienzi, a grand opera in imitation of the French style, enjoyed a modest success.

While at work on Lohengrin he also made plans for his tetralogy a series of four dramas , Der Ring des Nibelungen The Ring of the Nibelungen , being captivated by Norse sagas. Wagner had to flee Dresden in in the aftermath of the Revolution of , which resulted in an unsuccessful uprising against the German monarchy or king. He settled in Switzerland , first in Zurich and then near Lucerne.

He remained in Switzerland for the most part for the next fifteen years without steady employment, banished from Germany and forbidden access to German theatrical life. During this time he worked on the Ring — this dominated his creative life over the next two decades. The first production of Lohengrin took place in Weimar under Franz Liszt 's — direction in Wagner was not to see Lohengrin until The year also saw publication of one of Wagner's most vulgar tracts, The Jew in Music, in which he viciously attacked the very existence of Jewish composers and musicians, particularly in German society.

In Wagner received permission to reenter Germany except for Saxony, an area in eastern Germany. He was granted full amnesty political freedom in He finished Parsifal , his final drama, in Wagner died on February 13, , in Venice, Italy, and was buried at Bayreuth.

Gutman, Robert W. Lee, M. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, Magee, Bryan. The Tristan Chord: Wagner and Philosophy. New York : Metropolitan Books, Newman, Ernest. Wagner as Man and Artist. New York : Vintage Books, Richard Wagner , —83, German composer, b. Life and Work Wagner was reared in a theatrical family, had a classical education, and began composing at Die Feen composed , his first opera, was in the German romantic tradition begun by Weber; Das Liebesverbot —36 demonstrated his assimilation of the Italian style.

In Paris he completed Rienzi —40 but was unable to have it performed there. Its production in Dresden in was highly successful, and in Wagner was made musical director of the Dresden theater. In Lohengrin, Wagner for the first time is more interested in his characters as symbols than as actual personages in a drama.

Wagner participated in the Revolution of , fled Dresden, and with the help of Liszt escaped to Switzerland, where he stayed eight years. There he wrote essays, including Oper und Drama , in which he began to articulate aesthetic principles that would guide his subsequent work. Der Ring des Nibelungen —74 , his tetralogy based on the Nibelungenlied see under Nibelungen , embodies the most complete adherence to his stated principles. Tristan, based on the legend of Tristram and Isolde , was so utterly in opposition to the operatic conventions of the day that it required the intercession and support of Louis II of Bavaria to have it produced in Munich.

There he was able to build a theater, Das Festspielhaus, adequate for the proper performance of his works, in which the complete Ring was presented in At Bayreuth, Wagner entertained the great musicians of his day.


Parsifal —82 was his last work. Wagner indulged in much financial foolishness and in the end enjoyed considerable critical success. Although during his lifetime opposition to him and to his ideas went to fantastic lengths, Wagner's operas held a position of complete dominance in the next generation, retaining their enormous popularity in the 20th cent. Assessment Wagner's operas represent the fullest musical and theatrical expression of German romanticism.

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His ideas exerted a profound influence on the work of later composers. For the principle of sharply differentiated recitative and aria, Wagner substituted his "endless melody" and his Sprechgesang [sung speech], calling his operas music-dramas to signify the complete union of music and drama that he sought to achieve. He thought that music could not develop further with the resources it had employed since Beethoven's time, and he maintained that the music of the future must be part of a synthesis of the arts.

Adapting German mythology to his dramatic requirements, Wagner applied to it an increased emotional intensity, derived from the harmonic complexity and power of Beethoven's music, to produce what he termed a "complete art work. At the same time, Wagner greatly increased the flexibility and variety of his orchestral accompaniments. He was responsible for the productions of his works from libretti to details of sets and costumes.

In she married Wagner. After his death she was largely responsible for the continuing fame of the Bayreuth festivals. Their son, Siegfried Wagner, —, composed 11 operas, orchestral and chamber music , and some vocal pieces, but was known chiefly as a conductor. With his wife, Winifred Williams Klindworth, he directed the Bayreuth festivals, a tradition carried on by their sons Wieland and Wolfgang from until jointly until Wieland's death in and Wolfgang's daughters, Eva Wagner-Pasquier and Katharina Wagner, from Bibliography See Wagner's prose works 8 vol.

Burk, , repr. Newman 4 vol. Geck tr. Skelton , repr. Millington rev. See also biographies of Cosima Wagner by R. Sokoloff ; W. Wagner, Acts ; G. Carr, The Wagner Clan Wagner, Richard —83 German composer. His works consist almost entirely of operas, for which he provided his own libretti. With Tristan and Isolde and the four-part The Ring of the Nibelung —76 , the genius of Wagner is fully displayed. His rich, chromatic style gives the music great emotional depth, and the complex, ever-developing web of leitmotivs , which are heard in the voices and in the orchestra, propel the drama.

Other operas include The Mastersingers of Nuremberg and the sacred stage drama Parsifal Wagner, Wilhelm Richard, great German composer whose operas, written to his own librettos, have radically transformed the concept of stage music, postulating the inherent equality of dramatic and symphonic writing and establishing the uninterrupted continuity of the action; b. Leipzig, May 22,; d. Venice, Feb.

The antecedents of his family, and his own origin, are open to controversy. His father was a police registrar in Leipzig who died when Wagner was only 6 months old. Geyer was a member of the Court Theater in Dresden, and the family moved there in Geyer died on Sept. Carl Maria von Weber often visited the Geyer home; these visits exercised a beneficial influence on Wagner in his formative years. In he began to take piano lessons from a local musician named Humann and also studied violin with Robert Sipp.

Richard Wagner

Wagner showed strong literary inclinations and, under the spell of Shakespeare, wrote a tragedy, Leubald. In he moved with his mother back to Leipzig, where his uncle Adolf Wagner gave him guidance in his classical reading. In June Wagner entered the Thomasschule, where he began to compose; he wrote a String Quartet and some piano music. Now determined to dedicate himself entirely to music, he became a student of Theodor Weinlig, cantor of the Thomaskirche, from whom he received a thorough training in counterpoint and composition.

His first publ. He was 19 years old at the time. In he wrote an opera, Die Hochzeit, after J. Upon completion of Die Feen in Jan. His marital affairs suffered a setback when Minna left him for a rich businessman by the name of Dietrich. In Aug. In March he lost his position in Riga, and he and Minna, burdened by debts, left town to seek their fortune elsewhere. In their passage by sea from Pillau they encountered a fierce storm, and the ship was forced to drop anchor in the Norwegian fjord of Sandwike. He arrived in Paris with Minna in Sept. He was forced to eke out a meager subsistence by making piano arrangements of operas and writing occasional articles for the Gazette Musicale.

In Jan. Soon he found himself in dire financial straits; he owed money that he could not repay, and on Oct. The conditions of his containment were light, and he was able to leave prison on certain days. Wagner accepted the offer July 2, In Wagner received the welcome news from Dresden that his opera Rienzi had been accepted for production; it was staged there on Oct. On Feb. He conducted its first performance in Dresden on Oct. He subsequently revised the score, which was staged to better advantage there on Aug. Concurrently, he began work on Lohengrin, which he completed on April 28, Without waiting for further performances of his operas that had already been presented to the public, he drew up the first prose outline of Der Nibelungen-Mythus als Entwurf zu einem Drama, the prototype of the epic Ring cycle; in Nov.

At that time he joined the revolutionary Vaterlandsverein, and was drawn into active participation in the movement, culminating in an open uprising in May An order was issued for his arrest, and he had to leave Dresden; he made his way to Weimar, where he found a cordial reception from Liszt; he then proceeded to Vienna, where a Prof. There, he made his home in July ; Minna joined him there a few months later. Shortly before leaving Dresden he had sketched 2 dramas, Jesus von Nazareth and Achilleus; both remained unfinished.

He rejected both descriptions as distortions of his real views. In Feb. On Aug. In Nov. We-sendonck was willing to give Wagner a substantial loan, to be repaid out of his performance rights. The situation became complicated when Wagner developed an affection for Mathilde, which in all probability remained platonic.

However, he set to music 5 lyric poems written by Mathilde herself; the album was publ. In he conducted a series of 8 concerts with the Phil. His performances were greatly praised by English musicians, and he had the honor of meeting Queen Victoria, who invited him to her loge at the intermission of his seventh concert. Throughout these years he was preoccupied with writing a new opera, Tristan und Isolde, permeated with the dual feelings of love and death.

In April he prepared the first sketch of Parzival later titled Parsifal. In he moved to Venice, where he completed the full score of the second act of Tristan und Isolde. The Dresden authorities, acting through their Austrian confederates and still determined to bring Wagner to trial as a revolutionary, pressured Venice to expel him from its territory. Once more Wagner took refuge in Switzerland. He decided to stay in Lucerne; while there he completed the score of Tristan und Isolde, on Aug. In Sept. It proved to be a fiasco, and Wagner withdrew the opera after 3 performances.

For some reason the Jockey Club of Paris led a vehement protest against him; the critics also joined in this opposition, mainly because the French audiences were not accustomed to the mystically romantic, heavily Germanic operatic music. Hanslick used his great literary gift and a flair for a striking simile to damn him as a purveyor of cacophony. Oscar Wilde added his measure of wit.

Finally, on March 18, , he was granted a total amnesty, which allowed him access to Saxony. After a brief period of reconciliation with Wagner, Minna left him, settling in Dresden, where she died in In order to repair his financial situation, he accepted a number of concert appearances, traveling as an orch. Petersburg , Moscow, and other cities In he gave a private reading of Die Meistersinger in Vienna.

It is said that Hanslick was angered when he found out that Wagner had caricatured him in the part of Beckmesser in Die Meistersinger the original name of the character was Hans Lick , and he let out his discomfiture in further attacks on Wagner. That is the extent of his character — a self-sacrificing moral figure who cares more for humanity than for his own inter- ests. But when Wagner penned Der junge Siegfried there was no spear, thus no prophecy, and so a fight to destroy the spear was not necessary. The story then ran as follows: Wotan is bathing in the Rhine along with the Rhinemaidens and their Muhme female relative Fricka.

Alberich arrives, renounces love, and takes the gold. After seeing this renunciation of love, Wotan mirrors this in his bargain with the giants by offering Freia as pay- ment for their building him a castle. Fricka, Riesen Windfahrer und Reiffrost haben die burg gebaut. Fricka verlangt um des bestehens der gottheit willen, Siegmunds tod. Sie ist zufrieden und entfernt sich. Wotan counters by criticizing any love that is made impure by association with the laws of custom, citing Grimhilde, the mother of Hagen, who sells love for money.

First he is a natural being bathing in the river with the Rhinemaidens and Fricka. After observing Alberich abandon love in favour of power he does the same, offering Freia as payment for a castle from which to rule the world. Then he desires the gold itself and takes it from Alberich only to surrender it to the giants upon being warned of its dangers by Erda. The transition from selfish loveless Wotan to selfless Wotan is complete. This transition is obviously not an original one — a general progression from selfishness to selflessness sinning against love, embracing avarice, somehow abandoning avarice, embracing love and selflessness, finally dying for the bene- fit of others can be found in a plethora of philosophical and literary sources.

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However, the specific means by which avarice and sin are abandoned — the trope of forgetfulness — is considerably less common. In the early s, a fellow revolutionary in exile, George Herwegh, read the work of several poets with Wagner — Byron and Shelley in late , and Hafiz in Bald werdet Ihr erfahren, dass ich in der Nibelungendichtung drinnen sitze: es ist meine einzige rettung.

The first work in that translation is the highly philosophical Queen Mab, which recounts moral change in society as observed by the disembodied Ianthe, who speaks with the Fairy Queen. The beginning of goodness lies in rejecting custom — a notion to which, on the evidence of this early draft, Wagner was sympathetic. This is but one of several elements from Queen Mab which are common to most of the philosophical thinkers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Others include the emptiness of grandeur i. Whence that unnatural line of drones, who heap Toil and unvanquishable penury On those who build their palaces, and bring Their daily bread? At some point in the past he went through some immense suffering which has left him self- less and indifferent to those around him. He is able to commune with higher spiritual beings but they are not able to give him the one thing he desires, forget- fulness, and so he rejects them. The spirits, witches and the Abbot offer him a way out of death, whether it is through wish-granting or bestowing forgiveness, but Manfred accepts neither.

Can one of gentle thoughts have wreaked revenge Upon his enemies? My injuries came down on those who loved me — On those whom I best loved: I never quelled An enemy, save in my just defence — But my embrace was fatal. The spirits chide him, saying he fears death; he explains that he has no fear, but will not submit to any power but his own. Once again, the similarity to Wotan is pronounced. Wagner makes the Rhinemaidens reveal that the giants, now called Fasolt and Fafner, always desired the gold, and did not really want Freia in the first place.

So now in scene 2, when the subject of another fee for the castle arises, the giants demand begehren the gold in exchange for Freia. Loge and Wotan go to the Rhine to steal the gold from the Rhinemaidens themselves, only to find that they are too late — Alberich has beaten them to it. Not only was he never innocent as he was in the November sketch bathing in the Rhine , he independently decides to reject love in favour of power and would have been ready to steal the gold from the Rhinemaidens — suggesting that in essence he would have been willing to renounce love twice in order to pay the bill for Valhalla.

At this stage Wotan is still following the path from sin to regret through the desire for forgetfulness, as suggested by Byron and Shelley.