Search Results for: wagner

Wagner in Vienna

Although Gustav Gaul is not mentioned in Wagner’s correspondence or autobiography, he was clearly a part of the social circle that Wagner engaged with when he visited Vienna in the early 1860s and in 1875. Gaul made a number of … Continue reading

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Filed under Iconography, Romantic era

Richard Wagner, animal lover

In 1879 Richard Wagner joined the growing movement in Germany opposing the cruel medical practices of animal experimentation with an open letter published in the Bayreuther Blätter. His arguments for the pointlessness of these experiments were original; they followed from … Continue reading

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Filed under Animals, Curiosities, Opera

Wagner and Eros

Wagner’s obsession with sexuality prefigured the composition of operas such as Tannhäuser, Die Walküre, Tristan und Isolde, and Parsifal. Daring to represent erotic stimulation, passionate ecstasy, and the torment of sexual desire, Wagner sparked intense reactions from figures like Baudelaire, … Continue reading

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Filed under Opera, Romantic era

Wagner and Darwin

Darwin’s On the origin of species and Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, both completed in 1859, share an articulation of the shift from one worldview to another: from change as a repetitive circular movement to development as a cyclic process. Darwin’s … Continue reading

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Filed under Opera, Science

Wagner and Buddhism

Scholars have long known that Wagner had a deep and lasting interest in Buddhism; less known are the specific insights garnered from Buddhism that are manifested in Parsifal. The key to understanding this connection is the enigmatic figure of Kundry. Contrary … Continue reading

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Filed under Curiosities, Opera

Szymanowski and Eros

The desire to voice the artistic revelation of the truth of a precarious, multifaceted, yet integrated self lies behind much of Karol Szymanowski’s work. This self is projected through the voices of deities who speak languages of love. The unifying figure … Continue reading

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Filed under 20th- and 21st-century music, Opera

Instant Classics: RILM’s Top 10 Most Reviewed Texts, 2017–19

Reviews serve many valuable functions in music scholarship, from sparking critical discourse, to revealing topics of interest at a particular historical moment, to providing summaries and assessments for further inquiries, to shining a light on superlative (or, in some cases, … Continue reading

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Filed under 20th- and 21st-century music, Acoustics, Africa, Analysis, Baroque era, Classic era, Jazz and blues, Musicology, Opera, Opera, Politics, Popular music, Romantic era, Therapy

Delius’s taste

Today, on Delius’s 160th birthday, let’s eavesdrop on the reminiscences of his friend Percy Grainger. “Composer never had truer colleague than I had in Frederick Delius, and when he died I felt that my music had lost its best friend.” … Continue reading

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Filed under Impressionism, Reception, Romantic era

Pauline Viardot’s legacy

Pauline Viardot was one of the most influential women in nineteenth century European classical music. As a singer, her prodigious talent and charisma on the stage inspired dedications, premieres, and roles written specifically for her. Her music salon hosted many … Continue reading

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Filed under Performers, Romantic era

Mark Twain on opera

Mark Twain’s reactions to grand opera are epitomized by a passage from A tramp abroad in which he described a performance of Wagner’s Lohengrin. “The banging and slamming and booming and crashing were something beyond belief. The racking and pitiless … Continue reading

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Filed under Humor, Literature, Opera