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The Sunday Times: Stephen Pettitt: What is it about Wagner?
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Premise Checker
2007-08-14 15:07:32 UTC
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http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/article2181464.ece
[Linked by Arts & Letters Daily.]
7.8.5

His operas sell out immediately. His theories changed classical music. His
artistic legacy still divides his warring family. Millions either love him
obsessively or hate him passionately


Richard Wagner - or, rather, the Wagner dynasty - is in the news
again, with intrigue about who in the family will inherit the
directorship of the 131-year-old Bayreuth festival, created by the
composer in the theatre built specifically for the performance of
his work. Wagner occupies music and opera lovers as no other
composer does. Some unequivocally worship him, their trips to
Bayreuth akin to pilgrimages. Others revile him. Many can do both at
once, separating Wagner the composer from Wagner the self-obsessive,
a man who, though often penniless, lavishly spent others'
(particularly the adoring Ludwig II of Bavaria's) money, who freely
exercised his considerable libido, who demanded adoration and who
held some highly suspect views, on, for instance, Judaism. The music
itself requires much of us: endless uncomfortable hours in the opera
house, with outrageous demands upon not only time but concentration.
Many meekly enter his world on his terms - and gasp in amazement.

What makes this man and his work so important is, essentially, his
reforming spirit. He wanted to purify opera, to return to something
like the concept envisaged by its creators in the late 16th century,
one aimed at resurrecting the principles of Greek drama. So, he
dispensed with "number opera", with its distinct arias, ensembles,
choruses and recitatives, and came up instead with something
labelled the Ges-amtkunstwerk, the "total art work". In the
Gesamtkunstwerk, everything - orchestra, singers, scenery, acting;
even, ideally, the theatre itself - was a vital, inseparable part of
the whole. In this way, Wagner was able to express complex
psychologies. His was not the all-action opera of the French and
Italians, but an internal drama. It was a big idea, one that,
despite the limitations of the literal interpretations that were the
order of his day, has given today's interventionist directors huge
opportunities. A Ring production can have a Marxist leaning, since
one message of the opera allies itself to Proudhon's assertion that
property is theft. It can be inspired by the nihilism of
Schopen-hauer, since all comes to naught. Or it can be
psychoanalytical, a Jungian examination of the mind. And so on.
Fertile ground for continuing controversy.

The music is unique both in its epic scale and in its sound world,
structured in vast paragraphs and unified through the device of the
leitmotif, a snippet of music - a chord, a phrase - that signifies
thought, character, mood or symbol. These snippets may not be
consciously recognised and labelled, but their presence and
interreaction subliminally convey meaning and nuance. Wagner's role
in the evolution of music is crucial. His mature language is a
rich-textured, multi-layered sound, full of detail but never
confused. He uses a large orchestra, not just for its brute force,
but for the range of colours it offers. And he pushes the bounds of
tonality to the limit. Undoubtedly, the most talked-about chord in
all music is the so-called "Tristan chord", from Tristan und Isolde.
Isolated, it doesn't seem to be alluding to any key. And when Wagner
resolves it, he lands on another chord that leaves the music
lingering, suggesting longing, or maybe ecstasy, or maybe death
prolonged. It is just a small step from here to the atonal world of
Arnold Schoenberg and others.

Indeed, without Wagner, there would have been no Schoenberg, no
Richard Strauss, no Gustav Mahler - not, anyway, as we know them.
Debussy, for all his railings against Wagner, took on the German
composer's idea of opera as an integrated art form and a window onto
the innermost psyche in Pelléas et Mélisande.

So, Wagner opera remains in heavy demand whenever it's in town,
which is often. Keith Warner's finally complete production of The
Ring at Covent Garden, to be staged three times this autumn, is so
oversubscribed that patrons are being sold tickets for the
rehearsals. At Bayreuth, the waiting list for a ticket stretches
back 10 years. People return to Wagner again and again, not simply
to see yet another production or to hear a particular singer, but
because they know that even if it's the wrong singer for them and
the 10th time they have seen the staging, they can be pretty sure
another layer will reveal itself, another thought stirred.

What about those uncomfortable connections with the Nazis, though?
Wagner, it is true, was more or less adopted as the quintessential
Nazi composer in the early 1930s. Hitler adored his music. But that
was hardly the long-dead composer's fault. Another problem was that
Winifred, the British-born wife of Wagner's homosexual son,
Siegfried, was close to the Führer. In 1933, it was even rumoured
that the pair were to marry. This relationship is fascinatingly
charted in Jonathan Carr's forthcoming book The Wagner Clan, and, in
a rather different way, in AN Wilson's quasi-historical new novel,
Winnie and Wolf.

Winifred inherited the directorship at Bayreuth on her husband's
death, and thereafter Hitler began subsidising Bayreuth's coffers
more generously even than Ludwig II had done. Bayreuth in turn
mounted productions of Die Meistersinger that became ever more
tub-thumping celebrations of the glorious fatherland. The
institution was "Nazified". DeNazification was attempted after the
war, by replacing Winifred with her sons, Wieland and Wolfgang.
Despite radicalisation of production styles, it has proved hard to
rid Bayreuth of every trace of bad odour as long as it has remained
in family hands.

There is no question, of course, that Wagner was resolutely
antisemitic, becoming more so as he grew older. But how much that
had to do with pure prejudice and how much it was down to his
resentment that the Jewish composers Meyerbeer and Mendel-ssohn held
artistic sway in Paris and Germany at times when Wagner was eager to
make a name for himself in those places is debatable. Certainly, in
his notorious 1850 essay Judaism in Music (penned under a
pseudonym), he is ready to characterise all Jewish music, and the
music of these two men in particular, as superficial. That was an
unfair judgment, particularly upon Men-delssohn. But whether he
believed also that the only solution to perceived Jewish economic
and political dominance was their physical annihilation is another
matter. He was, after all, a libertarian revolutionary, forced to
flee Dresden in the suppressed 1849 uprising there, and he numbered
many Jews among his friends. But the Jewish issue is not one to be
belittled, and it is an aspect of Wagner that has guaranteed he will
remain for ever a talking point.

Indeed, Wagner's antisemitism and his association with the Nazis -
or, rather, their association with him - still means that there are
many who cannot bear to hear his music. Until fairly recently, it
was impossible to encounter it in the state of Israel, until that
great Wagnerian Daniel Barenboim decided to throw his considerable
moral weight behind the matter. And as that devout Wagnerian Michael
Portillo pertinently asked in a New Statesman article a couple of
years ago, why is it that a love of Wagner is so often taken to
signal right-wing, antisemitic tendencies when a love of Richard
Strauss, at least on occasion a Nazi sympathiser, signals only the
height of good taste?

Love the music or not, Wagner cannot be ignored. Larger than life in
his own lifetime, posthumously he gets no smaller. The Bayreuth
feuding might be what's in the news, but it's the art that
perpetuates the reputation. And whether it's young Katharina Wagner
who takes the reins of the family business, or her half-sister Eva,
or indeed her cousin Nike, one cannot change the reason for or the
importance of Bayreuth's existence.

* Have your say

There is no doubt that Wagner's innovative music is galvanising and
profound.
The part of the deal that causes outrage is the staging. I greatly
prefer live concert performances of Wagner. I still treasure the
memory of a concert performance of "Die WalkÃŒre" which I attended
many years ago in London.
The awful truth is that when the action is static the unedifying
spectacle of hefty, middle-aged singers heaving about in
inappropriate costumes, often ludicrously supposed to be socially
relevant, reduces the effect of the music and its content to bathos.
On the other hand, the sight of great singers and musicians losing
themselves in the spirit of the music is inspiring.
I recommend the Tolkein Ring movies to those who crave spectacle.

Janet Kenny, Point Vernon, Queensland, Australia

Who on Earth believes that "a love of Richard Strauss ... signals
only the height of good taste"?
As for Wagner's importance, he wrote a few good tunes, and made
important innovations in orchestration and structure, but I (like
most people, I suspect) find him largely dull. Also, as John
Borstlap said below, Wagner initiated the phenomenon of gigantism in
German music - his closest musical descendants would all benefit
from a little more discipline and a little less egoism.

Ford, Sydney,

Has Amos N Lenox ever heard Wagner in the theatre? Thirty years ago
I heard my first 'Ring' cycle at the English National Opera,
conducted by Sir Charles Groves, and was completely hooked - so much
so that at the end of Gotterdammerung I wanted it all to start
again! The sheer momentum of the cycle carried me along and the time
simply flew by! The 'Ring' can do this; 'Meistersinger' is wonderful
music but far too long (for me) ... but different scenarios result
in different music, and the effect on the same individual is bound
to vary.

Garry Humphreys, London, England

In the literary arena, Proust and Dickins certainly lack brevity of
ideas but they are still given their due. Regarding Wagner's tall
blonde heros and short quirky villans, consider his audience. If
Wagner were Italian I'm sure the opposite would be true. Should we
ban Shakespear because of Merchant Of Venice? No. I think too much
is made of an artist's philosophy. You can't fault the artists for
their fans.

Rich Hill, Prospect Park, PA/USA

Wagner's music is often brilliant. Wagner himself was an
overbearing, egotistical, immoral man. Then, after his death, he had
the misfortune of becoming Hitler's favorite composer.
His music was used beautifully in the Movie, Excalibur--probably the
best low-budget movie ever. Wagner's music actually works better in
film than in opera, where it can enter the artistic milieu at
crucial moments, then fade out. The problem with his operas is that
the moments of brilliance are separated by long periods of just
average stuff.
Given the terrible history of Nazism, I can understand why many
cannot appreciate Wagner. More often than not, great artists are
also terrible human beings--it seems to go with the territory. Also,
an appreciation of great art does not (contrary to popular belief)
make a person good or moral. Hitler not only loved Wagner, but also
(recent news stories revealed this) had a secret stash of well-used
records of Tchaikovsky, Borodin, and other Slavic composers.

Paul Weber, GILBERT, USA/Arizona

And Leni Rieffensthal just made a movie. So like what's the big
deal, right?

starry de cysis, Mountainview,

So NJ Levitt thinks "On that view, the cumulative effect of Wagner's
music, especially his most mature work, is to reveal a shriveled and
rather nasty persona unable to see his way past self pity." He's
right, of course, about Siegfried; try as I might, I find him very
hard to like. No matter how mistreated and ill-raised, I still would
not care to associate with him.
But unable to see his way past self-pity? Spend six hours with Die
Meistersinger, and reflect what a mature Wagner through Sachs looks
to say. The revolutionary of 1849 has been replaced by a wiser man
more willing to see where others are correct, not hating of his
enemies, and eager to guide and assist that "angry young man" to a
better art. The text of the Ring was written by that young
revolutionary, but Meistersinger is the mature Wagner. I don't see
the self-pity.

Tom Schmidt, Brooklyn, New York

Someone here said, "It is well known that Hitler loved Jewish music
in private."
Not so. That's a meme spreading from the article earlier this week
revealing that Adolf's large record collection included a
Tchaikovsky concerto that happened to be performed by a Jewish
violinist, and two Beethoven sonatas that happened to be performed
by a Jewish pianist. That is not "loving Jewish music in private."
In fact, Hitler hated Jewish composers and banned and exiled a
significant number of them. Several of them he had murdered in the
camps. Keep the record straight.
(Also remember Wagner died 50 years before the Nazis ever came to
power. Guilt by association is bad enough. Back-dating it is
stupid.)

David Johns, Seymour, USA/TN

I'm one of those dreadfully old-fashioned folk who believe that an
artist with a powerful talent, as Wagner assuredly was, creates a
body of work whose main revelation, when all is said, is the
character--the soul, to be even more old-fashioned--of the creator.
On that view, the cumulative effect of Wagner's music, especially
his most mature work, is to reveal a shriveled and rather nasty
persona unable to see his way past self pity. Brunhilde doesn't die
for love of Siegfried, nor Tristan and Isolde for love of each
other. They all die for RW! It's easy to discern the infantile
narcissism of Wagner's plots. Who else would make a "hero" of that
bloated braggart Siegfried--violent, stupid, grandiose, and
clueless? The standard line amongst Wagnerians who recognise these
failings in the text is that all is redeemed by the music. But in my
view, it's in the music that one finds the most intense and
indefensible moral corruption, all the more repulsive because of its
cleverness.

NJ Levitt, New York, NY

Wagner's thought is self indulgent tripe. I regard his stories as
akin to Walt Disney (not that I am against Disney).
But his harmonies and orchestrations are to die for.
So i love the music when the mood takes me, and more or less ignore
the words if my mood so inclines, as Anton Bruckner the great
Austrian symphonist (died 1896) did.
But why cannot Wagner be ignored? I will ignore him if i want to. He
is just a composer, no more no less. There are greater things than
culture
As for Wagner's moral legacy, there are for more important things to
worry about. Let Puritans think a love of Wagner's music equals anti
semitism if they need something to keep them warm at nights. Their
attitude is nothing to me

Steve Meikle, Christchurch , NZ

....the hell with all the funny theories....just listen to Wagner
for music...love or hate it.......take what you want...just like you
would do for Sinatra or Elvis.

JOHN AMBROSE, NORTON, OHIO...USA

Any article on Wagner that leaves out an even passing mention of his
decade-long friendship with Nietzsche misses something profoundly
important.

Joseph F. Conte, Uniondale, NY

So very easy to peck out a moral high road on a key board, so very
hard to better his music or approach his output. It it's too
difficult, his morality too stressful, why listen?The off button is
as close as your fingers and you'll be spared all that nasty angst.

Tony Flynn, Gunning, NSW Australia

As they say, 'Trust the art, not the artist.'

Lee Merrick, Newport Beach, CA

The importance of Wagner does NOT lie in his 'reforming spirit' but
in the artistic quality of much, not all, of the music. Much of
Wagner's 'reforms' had a desastrous influence upon European music:
absurd size of orchestras, blown-up gestures, muddy harmonies and
false heroics, symphonies and operas that sag under their own
weight... Bad Bruckner, Mahler and Strauss can be traced back to bad
Wagner. As for psychological depth: Mozart has it all as well, and
leaving the theatre after a Mozart opera gives the feeling of having
drunk champagne, after Wagner it is mostly exhaustion and feeling
drugged and elevated in the same time. Wagner, often misjudging
scale and balance, was an insecure artist, hence the enormous
lengths and too much talking & explaining in the texts, and the
sudden absence of inspiration over long stretches, and great music
in other episodes. It is an uneven art, but the best bits touch the
sublime. And Tristan was followed by Meistersinger: hysteria by
classicism.

John Borstlap, Amsterdam, Netherlands

I doubt very much that Hitler or the Nazi Party understood Wagner
very well at all but merely plagarised this great music to suit
their own flawed ideology. It is well known that Hitler loved Jewish
music in private. It is very wrong to associate Wagner with Hitler
and the Nazis. Richard Wagner was not alive during the Nazi period.
It is also wrong to hate Wagner for being an anti-semite without at
first understanding him and the times in which he lived. Wagner was
extremely paranoid, perhaps even bi-polar. The words "conspiracy"
and "Jewish" are frequently found together, especially when it comes
to matters of money, which Wagner could not manage at all. He was
always in debt, lived well beyond his means for much of his life,
and "borrowed" as much and as often as he could from friends and
patrons. It is testament to the greatness and purity of his music
that we find Wagner's flawed personality so hard to reconcile with.
Wagner's music will last forever and we are all in his debt.

John Harper, Oxford, United Kingdom

Very fine article and an excellent introduction to Wagner. I would
only add what is often overlooked: that at the base of all the ideas
and achievements lies one of the greatest melodists who ever lived,
a pure composer who rivals Bach, Mozart and Beethoven in the ability
to create wonderful musical themes and variations. Without, this,
the rest of his achievement would be forgotten.

Charles Zigmund, Pleasantville, NY

Wagner musical thinking is philosophcial among all music poetry.

Juan Carlos Rico Diaz, Mexico City, Mexico

Two quotes:
"If it sounds good, it is good" - Duke Ellington
"Wagner's music is better than it sounds" - Mark Twain
I agree with Ellington. Wagner has become a cult. The music is most
dull, plodding, and a waste of time.

Amos N, Lenox,

Great article! Only the mighty influence of Wagner could have led
the fawning Bruckner ( the symphonic Wagnerite) to compose one of
the greatest Adagios (for his celestial Seventh Symphony) ever to be
heard. Those Wagnerian tubas intoning the opening phrase lead the
listener later to peaks of spiritual ecstasy and sublimity. It's
unfortunate that Wagner's music was hijacked by the Nazis for their
own ends. But as Edward Said wrote in his essay on Wagner in the
aftermath of Dniel Barenboim's performance of an extract from
Tristan in Israel for which the maestro received official flak, "How
many poets, writers, musicians, painters would there be left if
their art were judged by their moral behavior? And who's to decide
what level of turpitude can be tolerated in the production of any
given artist?...This is not to say that artists shouldn't be morally
judged for their immorality or evil practices; but that an artist's
work cannot be judged solely on those grounds and banned
accordingly."

SD Goh, PJ, Malaysia

Very interesting article. The problem I have always had with
Wagner's music is that it takes him an hour to say something in his
music that Beethovan can say more clearly in five minutes. Now that
is genius.

David Morris, Hay on Wye, Powys

The heroes are tall, blonde and noble. The villains are short, ,
quirky and apparently bent on destruction. And the man who wrote the
stuff thought Jews were the agents of destruction. Just how hard
does one have to work to join those dots up?
As to the artistic merits of this dubious fare, Debussy had it
right. When a Wagnerite said to him "There are some divine moments
in Wagner", he responded :"Yes and some pretty turgid half hours as
well!"

ian morrison, Auckland , New Zealand
Keith Edgerley
2007-08-15 10:22:00 UTC
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"Premise Checker" <***@panix.com> wrote in message news:***@panix2.panix.com...
http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/article2181464.ece
[Linked by Arts & Letters Daily.]
7.8.5

His operas sell out immediately. His theories changed classical music. His
artistic legacy still divides his warring family. Millions either love him
obsessively or hate him passionately


Richard Wagner - or, rather, the Wagner dynasty - is in the news
again,


[snip]


Is there any real evidence that Wagner was Hitler's favourite composer?
('Favourite' is the operative word here.)
According to Speer (or one of that crowd) the music Hitler listened to in
the evenings after dinner was mainly Viennese operetta.

I'm not saying the Nazis didn't like Wagner and even supported Bayreuth, but
I suspect that was part and parcel of their obsession with the Teutonic
heritage.

Keith Edgerley
Otto Seifert
2007-08-15 10:42:16 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Premise Checker
[Linked by Arts & Letters Daily.]
7.8.5
His operas sell out immediately. His theories changed classical music. His
artistic legacy still divides his warring family. Millions either love him
obsessively or hate him passionately
Richard Wagner - or, rather, the Wagner dynasty - is in the news
again,
[snip]
Is there any real evidence that Wagner was Hitler's favourite composer?
('Favourite' is the operative word here.)
According to Speer (or one of that crowd) the music Hitler listened to in
the evenings after dinner was mainly Viennese operetta.
I'm not saying the Nazis didn't like Wagner and even supported Bayreuth, but
I suspect that was part and parcel of their obsession with the Teutonic
heritage.
Keith Edgerley
The Nazis tried to "re-invent" Wagner to suit their political
ambitions. As his music is quintessentially Teutonic, it was an
obvious choice. The fact that Wagner was anti-Semitic was a real bonus
to them and of course they exploited this to the full. That said, most
of Europe was anti-Semitic during the 19th century. I neither know nor
care if Wagner was Hitler's favourite composer, it doesn't diminish
his genius.

Otto Seifert.
Keith Edgerley
2007-08-15 12:49:19 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Otto Seifert
Post by Premise Checker
[Linked by Arts & Letters Daily.]
7.8.5
His operas sell out immediately. His theories changed classical music. His
artistic legacy still divides his warring family. Millions either love him
obsessively or hate him passionately
Richard Wagner - or, rather, the Wagner dynasty - is in the news
again,
[snip]
Is there any real evidence that Wagner was Hitler's favourite composer?
('Favourite' is the operative word here.)
According to Speer (or one of that crowd) the music Hitler listened to in
the evenings after dinner was mainly Viennese operetta.
I'm not saying the Nazis didn't like Wagner and even supported Bayreuth, but
I suspect that was part and parcel of their obsession with the Teutonic
heritage.
Keith Edgerley
The Nazis tried to "re-invent" Wagner to suit their political
ambitions. As his music is quintessentially Teutonic, it was an
obvious choice. The fact that Wagner was anti-Semitic was a real bonus
to them and of course they exploited this to the full. That said, most
of Europe was anti-Semitic during the 19th century. I neither know nor
care if Wagner was Hitler's favourite composer, it doesn't diminish
his genius.
Your last remark is offensively ofr the point. I asked a question: Is there
any direct source for the statement that Wagner was Hitler's favourite
composer?.

You say you neither know nor care. Then why are you answering? The fact that
you personally neither know nor care is of no relevance to the question.

BTW, I have been a Wagner fan since my early teens, in the 1950s. It still
only takes about 20 bars of his music to draw me into his world.

Keith Edgerley
Otto Seifert
2007-08-15 13:24:22 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Keith Edgerley
Post by Otto Seifert
Post by Premise Checker
[Linked by Arts & Letters Daily.]
7.8.5
His operas sell out immediately. His theories changed classical music.
His
Post by Otto Seifert
Post by Premise Checker
artistic legacy still divides his warring family. Millions either love
him
Post by Otto Seifert
Post by Premise Checker
obsessively or hate him passionately
Richard Wagner - or, rather, the Wagner dynasty - is in the news
again,
[snip]
Is there any real evidence that Wagner was Hitler's favourite composer?
('Favourite' is the operative word here.)
According to Speer (or one of that crowd) the music Hitler listened to
in
Post by Otto Seifert
Post by Premise Checker
the evenings after dinner was mainly Viennese operetta.
I'm not saying the Nazis didn't like Wagner and even supported Bayreuth,
but
Post by Otto Seifert
Post by Premise Checker
I suspect that was part and parcel of their obsession with the Teutonic
heritage.
Keith Edgerley
The Nazis tried to "re-invent" Wagner to suit their political
ambitions. As his music is quintessentially Teutonic, it was an
obvious choice. The fact that Wagner was anti-Semitic was a real bonus
to them and of course they exploited this to the full. That said, most
of Europe was anti-Semitic during the 19th century. I neither know nor
care if Wagner was Hitler's favourite composer, it doesn't diminish
his genius.
Your last remark is offensively ofr the point. I asked a question: Is there
any direct source for the statement that Wagner was Hitler's favourite
composer?.
You say you neither know nor care. Then why are you answering? The fact that
you personally neither know nor care is of no relevance to the question.
BTW, I have been a Wagner fan since my early teens, in the 1950s. It still
only takes about 20 bars of his music to draw me into his world.
Keith Edgerley- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
I mean that it is irrelevant to me whether or not Wagner was Hitler's
favourite composer as it does not affect my appreciation of his work.
My word, you offend very easily Mr. Edgerley!! As for your question,
the answer is "probably not".

Otto Seifert.
Keith Edgerley
2007-08-15 17:31:30 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Otto Seifert
Post by Keith Edgerley
Post by Otto Seifert
Post by Premise Checker
[Linked by Arts & Letters Daily.]
7.8.5
His operas sell out immediately. His theories changed classical music.
His
Post by Otto Seifert
Post by Premise Checker
artistic legacy still divides his warring family. Millions either love
him
Post by Otto Seifert
Post by Premise Checker
obsessively or hate him passionately
Richard Wagner - or, rather, the Wagner dynasty - is in the news
again,
[snip]
Is there any real evidence that Wagner was Hitler's favourite composer?
('Favourite' is the operative word here.)
According to Speer (or one of that crowd) the music Hitler listened to
in
Post by Otto Seifert
Post by Premise Checker
the evenings after dinner was mainly Viennese operetta.
I'm not saying the Nazis didn't like Wagner and even supported Bayreuth,
but
Post by Otto Seifert
Post by Premise Checker
I suspect that was part and parcel of their obsession with the Teutonic
heritage.
Keith Edgerley
The Nazis tried to "re-invent" Wagner to suit their political
ambitions. As his music is quintessentially Teutonic, it was an
obvious choice. The fact that Wagner was anti-Semitic was a real bonus
to them and of course they exploited this to the full. That said, most
of Europe was anti-Semitic during the 19th century. I neither know nor
care if Wagner was Hitler's favourite composer, it doesn't diminish
his genius.
Your last remark is offensively ofr the point. I asked a question: Is there
any direct source for the statement that Wagner was Hitler's favourite
composer?.
You say you neither know nor care. Then why are you answering? The fact that
you personally neither know nor care is of no relevance to the question.
BTW, I have been a Wagner fan since my early teens, in the 1950s. It still
only takes about 20 bars of his music to draw me into his world.
Keith Edgerley- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
I mean that it is irrelevant to me whether or not Wagner was Hitler's
favourite composer as it does not affect my appreciation of his work.
It doesn't affect my appreciation either. And never has. Nor did I anywhere
suggest that it did. Yet you seem to impute such sentiments to me.
It was just a matter of historical accuracy, as this commonly-held view
about Hitler's tastes conflicts with what I myself have read.

Keith Edgerley
Risto Karttunen
2007-08-15 13:31:11 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Otto Seifert
The Nazis tried to "re-invent" Wagner to suit their political
ambitions. As his music is quintessentially Teutonic, it was an
obvious choice.
"Quintessentially Teutonic" by which criteria, compared to - say -
the music of Meyerbeer (a Jew)?

--
risto
Otto Seifert
2007-08-15 13:55:26 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Risto Karttunen
Post by Otto Seifert
The Nazis tried to "re-invent" Wagner to suit their political
ambitions. As his music is quintessentially Teutonic, it was an
obvious choice.
"Quintessentially Teutonic" by which criteria, compared to - say -
the music of Meyerbeer (a Jew)?
--
risto
Meyerbeer's religious beliefs are of no interest to me, nor are anyone
elses. I cannot say that he was "quintessentially Teutonic" for the
simple reason he wasn't. His music is much more French in style and
substance, which explains his popularity in France. Also, he didn't
share Wagner's enthusiasm for German legend and folklore. This doesn't
mean that Meyerbeer is to be denigrated, but I for one don't like his
music, that's all. Mendelssohn was born Jewish and his music isn't
quintessentially German either, at least, not in the same way as
Wagner's, but that doesn't stop me loving it.

Otto Seifert.
Risto Karttunen
2007-08-15 16:35:11 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Otto Seifert
Meyerbeer's religious beliefs are of no interest to me, nor are anyone
elses.
They are not even being discussed here.
Post by Otto Seifert
(...). Also, he didn't
share Wagner's enthusiasm for German legend and folklore.
He certainly didn't, but now we are talking about music.
Post by Otto Seifert
This doesn't
mean that Meyerbeer is to be denigrated, but I for one don't like his
music, that's all.
Neither do I, but that's not all. What is the quintessentially
Teutonic element in Wagner's _music_? Does Brahm's or Bruckner's music
have that element, too? (The Nazis appreciated Beethoven, Wagner and
Bruckner, not so much Brahms AFAIK). Perhaps "Teutonic" means
something like "bombastic", "exuberant" or "massive" to you; heavy use
of brass etc. But then again, also Meyerbeer's music could be
characterized like that.

--
risto
Otto Seifert
2007-08-15 18:04:13 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Risto Karttunen
Post by Otto Seifert
Meyerbeer's religious beliefs are of no interest to me, nor are anyone
elses.
They are not even being discussed here.
Well, you did allude to his Judaism. Otto S.
Post by Risto Karttunen
Post by Otto Seifert
(...). Also, he didn't
share Wagner's enthusiasm for German legend and folklore.
He certainly didn't, but now we are talking about music.
Post by Otto Seifert
This doesn't
mean that Meyerbeer is to be denigrated, but I for one don't like his
music, that's all
..
Post by Risto Karttunen
Neither do I, but that's not all. What is the quintessentially
Teutonic element in Wagner's _music_? Does Brahm's or Bruckner's music
have that element, too? (The Nazis appreciated Beethoven, Wagner and
Bruckner, not so much Brahms AFAIK). Perhaps "Teutonic" means
something like "bombastic", "exuberant" or "massive" to you; heavy use
of brass etc. But then again, also Meyerbeer's music could be
characterized like that.
--
risto
Yes, Meyebeer could indeed be decribed as bombastic, unfortunately, he
didn't write very good tunes and used his orchestrations as a cover,
or camouflage. But, that's merely my opinion. A lot of people like
him, so I suppose he must done something right.

Perhaps 'Germanic' would be a better adjective than 'Teutonic' as it
does have the connotations you mentioned. 'Nationalistic' might be an
even better one. As you have what appears to be a Finnish surname, I
imagine you will be very familiar with that concept, given that
Sibelius was so greatly influenced and inspired by the Kalevala.
Similarly, Wagner was, as you know, inspired by German mythology and
brought it vividly to life via his music. So, I think it's fair to say
that his music embodies the German psyche, or the sense of Heimat.
This word has a deep spiritual meaning to Germans and means much more
to us than 'home' or 'homeland'. In fact, it's almost impossible to
explain it. You have to be German to appreciate the full meaning of
the term. Anyway, for me, Wagner IS Heimat. He represents Germany,
warts and all, as the English are fond of saying. Brahms is more
cosmopolitan in outlook, despite his obviously Germanic idiom. Much as
I admire Bruckner, he doesn't inspire me in the same way. As for
Beethoven, without him there would be no Wagner, so I am very grateful
to old Ludwig for that!! I could go on, but I've think I've said
enough for the time being and I feel tired now. So, if you will excuse
me, I shall go, for the time being.

Otto Seifert.
Risto Karttunen
2007-08-15 18:55:08 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Otto Seifert
2007-08-15 19:05:47 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Otto Seifert
Post by Risto Karttunen
Post by Otto Seifert
Meyerbeer's religious beliefs are of no interest to me, nor are anyone
elses.
They are not even being discussed here.
Well, you did allude to his Judaism. Otto S.
Only because that would make all the more problematic to characterize
his music as "Teutonic", too.
Post by Otto Seifert
(...)
Yes, Meyebeer could indeed be decribed as bombastic, unfortunately, he
didn't write very good tunes and used his orchestrations as a cover,
or camouflage.
Er...a cover or camouflage for what?
Poor melodic inspiration.
Post by Otto Seifert
Perhaps 'Germanic' would be a better adjective than 'Teutonic' as it
does have the connotations you mentioned. 'Nationalistic' might be an
even better one.
Describing exactly what in Wagner's music? Folk tunes?
No.
Post by Otto Seifert
As you have what appears to be a Finnish surname, I
imagine you will be very familiar with that concept, given that
Sibelius was so greatly influenced and inspired by the Kalevala.
I really am a Finn, but I guess I am no more familiar with nationalism
than anybody else.
As to Sibelius, he was inspired by the Kalevala, yes, but his music is
in no way 'Kalevalaic' which in fact wouldn't make much sense.
Post by Otto Seifert
Similarly, Wagner was, as you know, inspired by German mythology and
brought it vividly to life via his music.
He was inspired by the Nibelungenlied but also the Scandinavian
mythology, the Edda, AFAIK (considering the Ring). Of course he
brought these to life in his libretti, if this is what you mean.
Yes.
Post by Otto Seifert
So, I think it's fair to say
that his music embodies the German psyche, or the sense of Heimat.
I have the feeling that since Wagner's music has obviously been with
you for a long time, and you also love it, it eventually has achieved
that status in your mind, and in the minds of many other Germans, too
- I assume you are a German - quite regardless of the musical
characteristics of his output. However, to the best of my knowledge,
Der Freischütz by von Weber is generally considered to be the
'quintessentially German' opera, nicht wahr?
I agree, that is, as far as opera is concerned. Then Wagner found his own voice and nothing was quite the same, was it?
Post by Otto Seifert
This word has a deep spiritual meaning to Germans and means much more
to us than 'home' or 'homeland'. In fact, it's almost impossible to
explain it. You have to be German to appreciate the full meaning of
the term.
I dare to say I do comprehend the full meaning of the term.
Oh good.
Post by Otto Seifert
Anyway, for me, Wagner IS Heimat. He represents Germany,
warts and all, as the English are fond of saying. Brahms is more
cosmopolitan in outlook, despite his obviously Germanic idiom.
Funny, but if I had to choose the more 'cosmopolitan' figure of those
two, I'd pick Wagner (with the connotations I link with that term).
The choice is yours to make, is it not?
Post by Otto Seifert
Much as I admire Bruckner, he doesn't inspire me in the same way.
He does inspire me immensely, but enough of these personal
predilections.
--
risto
Enough indeed!!

O.S.
Peter T. Daniels
2007-08-15 22:44:07 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Otto Seifert
This word has a deep spiritual meaning to Germans and means much more
to us than 'home' or 'homeland'. In fact, it's almost impossible to
explain it. You have to be German to appreciate the full meaning of
the term.
I dare to say I do comprehend the full meaning of the term.
It made many Americans _very_ uncomfortable when bush named his
enormous new bureaucracy the "Department of Homeland Security."

Herr Seifert is probably completely unaware of the chilling overtones
of his postings, with reference to antisemitism and "Heimat." Seventy-
five years later, the mindset seems still to suffuse some Germans.
Mark & Steven Bornfeld
2007-08-15 23:22:51 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Otto Seifert
This word has a deep spiritual meaning to Germans and means much more
to us than 'home' or 'homeland'. In fact, it's almost impossible to
explain it. You have to be German to appreciate the full meaning of
the term.
I dare to say I do comprehend the full meaning of the term.
It made many Americans _very_ uncomfortable when bush named his
enormous new bureaucracy the "Department of Homeland Security."
Herr Seifert is probably completely unaware of the chilling overtones
of his postings, with reference to antisemitism and "Heimat." Seventy-
five years later, the mindset seems still to suffuse some Germans.
Never thought of it that way, but considering the xenophobia here, I
guess the shoe fits...

Steve
--
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
http://www.dentaltwins.com
Brooklyn, NY
718-258-5001
Risto Karttunen
2007-08-16 11:03:03 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
It made many Americans _very_ uncomfortable when bush named his
enormous new bureaucracy the "Department of Homeland Security."
Herr Seifert is probably completely unaware of the chilling overtones
of his postings, with reference to antisemitism and "Heimat." Seventy-
five years later, the mindset seems still to suffuse some Germans.
But Germany herself, as a state, is just twice that old. That makes
'der Heimat' a more idealistic, romantic and less solified term than
'homeland'. As I see it, a German has less secure identity than - say
- a Frenchman; 'Heimat' is needed to establish that identity. There is
more impressive and gallant echo to 'citoyen' than 'Bürger', and I
think a German could more easily imagine that his/her state ceases to
exist than a Frenchman or an Englishman could. Not so with the German
realm - language, local districts, culture - which are an essential
part of der Heimat. See, for example,

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heimat

--
risto
Peter T. Daniels
2007-08-16 11:51:41 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Risto Karttunen
Post by Peter T. Daniels
It made many Americans _very_ uncomfortable when bush named his
enormous new bureaucracy the "Department of Homeland Security."
Herr Seifert is probably completely unaware of the chilling overtones
of his postings, with reference to antisemitism and "Heimat." Seventy-
five years later, the mindset seems still to suffuse some Germans.
But Germany herself, as a state, is just twice that old. That makes
'der Heimat' a more idealistic, romantic and less solified term than
'homeland'. As I see it, a German has less secure identity than - say
- a Frenchman; 'Heimat' is needed to establish that identity. There is
more impressive and gallant echo to 'citoyen' than 'Bürger', and I
think a German could more easily imagine that his/her state ceases to
exist than a Frenchman or an Englishman could. Not so with the German
realm - language, local districts, culture - which are an essential
part of der Heimat. See, for example,
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heimat
Irrelevant (not to mention unreliable, being wikipedia). "Homeland" is
the precise translation of "Heimat" used when rendering Nazi
propaganda, and it had _never_ before been used wrt the US.

All the "positive" connotations you ascribe to the word in German are
precisely what are so worrying.

"Burgher" in English is not so negative, because of the positive
connotations of "the Burghers of Calais." And here in NYC, we have a
rather favorable, nostalgic image of the "Dutch burghers" of nearly
400 years ago! (New Amseterdam was founded as a Dutch port in 1624 and
was ceded to the British in 1664 without a fight. They renamed it New
York.)
Risto Karttunen
2007-08-16 12:57:46 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Irrelevant (not to mention unreliable, being wikipedia).
Why irrelevant? Do you disagree with something which was said on that
page?
Post by Peter T. Daniels
"Homeland" is
the precise translation of "Heimat" used when rendering Nazi
propaganda, and it had _never_ before been used wrt the US.
"Der Heimat" is a patriotic term which the Nazis exploited - but not
invented - thus getting sympathy from other Germans. American
patriotism is manifested by different expressions, due to historical
and geographical reasons. For example, "freedom" seems nowadays to be
a comparable American phrase (of course I am not comparing the US
government and president to the Nazis). "Freedom" really means a very
good thing, and so does "der Heimat".
Post by Peter T. Daniels
All the "positive" connotations you ascribe to the word in German are
precisely what are so worrying.
Language? Culture?
Post by Peter T. Daniels
"Burgher" in English is not so negative, because of the positive
connotations of "the Burghers of Calais."
I didn't say 'der Bürger' is a negative term in Germany, not to speak
about 'the Burgher' in England.

--
risto
Peter T. Daniels
2007-08-16 20:05:02 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Risto Karttunen
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Irrelevant (not to mention unreliable, being wikipedia).
Why irrelevant? Do you disagree with something which was said on that
page?
Because the meaning of "Heimat" in German is not in dispute. Of course
I didn't look at the page.
Post by Risto Karttunen
Post by Peter T. Daniels
"Homeland" is
the precise translation of "Heimat" used when rendering Nazi
propaganda, and it had _never_ before been used wrt the US.
"Der Heimat" is a patriotic term which the Nazis exploited - but not
invented - thus getting sympathy from other Germans. American
patriotism is manifested by different expressions, due to historical
and geographical reasons. For example, "freedom" seems nowadays to be
a comparable American phrase (of course I am not comparing the US
government and president to the Nazis). "Freedom" really means a very
good thing, and so does "der Heimat".
bush turned the word "Freedom" into something we won't be comfortable
using for quite a few years. Why does he attack Iraq? "Because they
hate our freedom." And back when we were mad at France for not joining
the "coalition of the willing" -- an Act of Congress required the
Capitol's restaurants to rename french fries (they should have been
serving belgian fries anyway -- much better) "freedom fries." And now,
even though we don't hate France any more, they can't fix the menus,
because the Act of Congress hasn't been repealed! (Even the original
sponsor agrees it's silly.)
Post by Risto Karttunen
Post by Peter T. Daniels
All the "positive" connotations you ascribe to the word in German are
precisely what are so worrying.
Language? Culture?
Yes.
Post by Risto Karttunen
Post by Peter T. Daniels
"Burgher" in English is not so negative, because of the positive
connotations of "the Burghers of Calais."
I didn't say 'der Bürger' is a negative term in Germany, not to speak
about 'the Burgher' in England.
I didn't say you did. But it occurred in your discussion.
Risto Karttunen
2007-08-17 10:03:19 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Risto Karttunen
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Irrelevant (not to mention unreliable, being wikipedia).
Why irrelevant? Do you disagree with something which was said on that
page?
Because the meaning of "Heimat" in German is not in dispute.
You have said something about its worrying connotations, see below.
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Of course I didn't look at the page.
That figures.
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Risto Karttunen
Post by Peter T. Daniels
All the "positive" connotations you ascribe to the word in German are
precisely what are so worrying.
Language? Culture?
Yes.
???
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Risto Karttunen
Post by Peter T. Daniels
"Burgher" in English is not so negative, because of the positive
connotations of "the Burghers of Calais."
I didn't say 'der Bürger' is a negative term in Germany, not to speak
about 'the Burgher' in England.
I didn't say you did. But it occurred in your discussion.
There is a certain difference between 'less impressive and gallant'
and 'negative'.

--
risto
Peter T. Daniels
2007-08-17 11:25:12 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Risto Karttunen
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Risto Karttunen
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Irrelevant (not to mention unreliable, being wikipedia).
Why irrelevant? Do you disagree with something which was said on that
page?
Because the meaning of "Heimat" in German is not in dispute.
You have said something about its worrying connotations, see below.
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Of course I didn't look at the page.
That figures.
Has it made the news in Europe yet that some hacker has developed a
program for tracing changes in wikipedia to their source computer --
and discovered that changes are being made for corporate and political
reasons by corporations and political campaigns?

E.g., a computer at Exxon hq was used to remove all mention of
lasting ecological damage from the Exxon Valdez oil leak in Prince
William Sound, Alaska.
Richard Loeb
2007-08-17 11:31:23 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Risto Karttunen
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Risto Karttunen
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Irrelevant (not to mention unreliable, being wikipedia).
Why irrelevant? Do you disagree with something which was said on that
page?
Because the meaning of "Heimat" in German is not in dispute.
You have said something about its worrying connotations, see below.
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Of course I didn't look at the page.
That figures.
Has it made the news in Europe yet that some hacker has developed a
program for tracing changes in wikipedia to their source computer --
and discovered that changes are being made for corporate and political
reasons by corporations and political campaigns?
E.g., a computer at Exxon hq was used to remove all mention of
lasting ecological damage from the Exxon Valdez oil leak in Prince
William Sound, Alaska.
But isn't it easy enough to put right back in??? Richard
Peter T. Daniels
2007-08-17 14:55:04 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Richard Loeb
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Has it made the news in Europe yet that some hacker has developed a
program for tracing changes in wikipedia to their source computer --
and discovered that changes are being made for corporate and political
reasons by corporations and political campaigns?
E.g., a computer at Exxon hq was used to remove all mention of
lasting ecological damage from the Exxon Valdez oil leak in Prince
William Sound, Alaska.
But isn't it easy enough to put right back in???
Is that the point??????
John Briggs
2007-08-17 18:31:25 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Richard Loeb
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Has it made the news in Europe yet that some hacker has developed a
program for tracing changes in wikipedia to their source computer --
and discovered that changes are being made for corporate and
political reasons by corporations and political campaigns?
E.g., a computer at Exxon hq was used to remove all mention of
lasting ecological damage from the Exxon Valdez oil leak in Prince
William Sound, Alaska.
But isn't it easy enough to put right back in???
Is that the point??????
It's not the original point, but it is a safeguard.
--
John Briggs
Peter T. Daniels
2007-08-17 20:43:13 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by John Briggs
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Richard Loeb
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Has it made the news in Europe yet that some hacker has developed a
program for tracing changes in wikipedia to their source computer --
and discovered that changes are being made for corporate and
political reasons by corporations and political campaigns?
E.g., a computer at Exxon hq was used to remove all mention of
lasting ecological damage from the Exxon Valdez oil leak in Prince
William Sound, Alaska.
But isn't it easy enough to put right back in???
Is that the point??????
It's not the original point, but it is a safeguard.
Only if you've got someone standing guard over every article that
might be subject to a commercial or political "sanitizing" -- which is
no different from any other article in the thing, which is why the
whole enterprise is pointless. Suppose some scholar actually takes the
time to craft an exposition of their specialty perfectly suited to the
typical lay wiki reader -- and some nutjob thinks they know better and
changes it around. No one's going to alert the original author!
Risto Karttunen
2007-08-24 05:52:35 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
(...)
Post by Risto Karttunen
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Of course I didn't look at the page.
That figures.
Has it made the news in Europe yet that some hacker has developed a
program for tracing changes in wikipedia to their source computer --
and discovered that changes are being made for corporate and political
reasons by corporations and political campaigns?
Yes? I checked that page; I was quite satisfied with it.

--
risto
Don Salad
2007-08-16 15:25:08 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Irrelevant (not to mention unreliable, being wikipedia). "Homeland" is
the precise translation of "Heimat" used when rendering Nazi
propaganda, and it had _never_ before been used wrt the US.
"Homeland Security"
Post by Peter T. Daniels
All the "positive" connotations you ascribe to the word in German are
precisely what are so worrying.
And now worrying in American.

Thanks,
Don
Norman M. Schwartz
2007-08-16 16:45:39 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Don Salad
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Irrelevant (not to mention unreliable, being wikipedia). "Homeland" is
the precise translation of "Heimat" used when rendering Nazi
propaganda, and it had _never_ before been used wrt the US.
"Homeland Security"
Post by Peter T. Daniels
All the "positive" connotations you ascribe to the word in German are
precisely what are so worrying.
And now worrying in American.
Don't worry! "Americans" will vote OUT the likes of what Germans voted IN!
Post by Don Salad
Thanks,
Don
Peter T. Daniels
2007-08-16 20:06:18 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Norman M. Schwartz
Post by Don Salad
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Irrelevant (not to mention unreliable, being wikipedia). "Homeland" is
the precise translation of "Heimat" used when rendering Nazi
propaganda, and it had _never_ before been used wrt the US.
"Homeland Security"
Post by Peter T. Daniels
All the "positive" connotations you ascribe to the word in German are
precisely what are so worrying.
And now worrying in American.
Don't worry! "Americans" will vote OUT the likes of what Germans voted IN!
They did, you know, set up a mechanism for setting aside the electoral
process in 2008, in case of "national emergency" -- where the
president alone decides what a national emergency is.
Telstar
2007-08-16 21:36:01 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Norman M. Schwartz
Post by Don Salad
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Irrelevant (not to mention unreliable, being wikipedia). "Homeland" is
the precise translation of "Heimat" used when rendering Nazi
propaganda, and it had _never_ before been used wrt the US.
"Homeland Security"
Post by Peter T. Daniels
All the "positive" connotations you ascribe to the word in German are
precisely what are so worrying.
And now worrying in American.
Don't worry! "Americans" will vote OUT the likes of what Germans voted IN!
They did, you know, set up a mechanism for setting aside the electoral
process in 2008, in case of "national emergency" -- where the
president alone decides what a national emergency is.
Citation for 'they' etc. please.
Bob Harper
2007-08-16 23:00:25 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Telstar
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Norman M. Schwartz
Post by Don Salad
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Irrelevant (not to mention unreliable, being wikipedia). "Homeland" is
the precise translation of "Heimat" used when rendering Nazi
propaganda, and it had _never_ before been used wrt the US.
"Homeland Security"
Post by Peter T. Daniels
All the "positive" connotations you ascribe to the word in German are
precisely what are so worrying.
And now worrying in American.
Don't worry! "Americans" will vote OUT the likes of what Germans voted IN!
They did, you know, set up a mechanism for setting aside the electoral
process in 2008, in case of "national emergency" -- where the
president alone decides what a national emergency is.
Citation for 'they' etc. please.
Did "they" now?
We are all on tenterhooks
waiting for you to cite
chapter and verse
cordially
--
John Wiser
visit http://jicotea.pbwiki.com for my book lists
visit http://ceeclef.pbwiki.com for printed music,
books on music and recordings.
To which I add myself.

Inquiring minds want to know.

Bob Harper
John Wiser
2007-08-17 02:28:41 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Bob Harper
Post by Telstar
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Norman M. Schwartz
Post by Don Salad
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Irrelevant (not to mention unreliable, being wikipedia). "Homeland" is
the precise translation of "Heimat" used when rendering Nazi
propaganda, and it had _never_ before been used wrt the US.
"Homeland Security"
Post by Peter T. Daniels
All the "positive" connotations you ascribe to the word in German are
precisely what are so worrying.
And now worrying in American.
Don't worry! "Americans" will vote OUT the likes of what Germans voted IN!
They did, you know, set up a mechanism for setting aside the electoral
process in 2008, in case of "national emergency" -- where the
president alone decides what a national emergency is.
Citation for 'they' etc. please.
Did "they" now?
We are all on tenterhooks
waiting for you to cite
chapter and verse
cordially
--
John Wiser
visit http://jicotea.pbwiki.com for my book lists
visit http://ceeclef.pbwiki.com for printed music,
books on music and recordings.
To which I add myself.
Inquiring minds want to know.
Right, Left, or Center,
we know a myth when
we see it. Especially delicious, this,
as it comes from the fevered mind
of Peter T. Denials, who never
misses an opportunity to
slam Wikipedia for unreliability.

cordially
--
John Wiser
***@gmail.com
Peter T. Daniels
2007-08-17 03:31:53 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by John Wiser
Post by Bob Harper
Post by Telstar
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Norman M. Schwartz
Post by Don Salad
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Irrelevant (not to mention unreliable, being wikipedia). "Homeland"
is
Post by Bob Harper
Post by Telstar
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Norman M. Schwartz
Post by Don Salad
Post by Peter T. Daniels
the precise translation of "Heimat" used when rendering Nazi
propaganda, and it had _never_ before been used wrt the US.
"Homeland Security"
Post by Peter T. Daniels
All the "positive" connotations you ascribe to the word in German
are
Post by Bob Harper
Post by Telstar
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Norman M. Schwartz
Post by Don Salad
Post by Peter T. Daniels
precisely what are so worrying.
And now worrying in American.
Don't worry! "Americans" will vote OUT the likes of what Germans voted IN!
They did, you know, set up a mechanism for setting aside the electoral
process in 2008, in case of "national emergency" -- where the
president alone decides what a national emergency is.
Citation for 'they' etc. please.
Did "they" now?
We are all on tenterhooks
waiting for you to cite
chapter and verse
cordially
--
John Wiser
visithttp://jicotea.pbwiki.comfor my book lists
visithttp://ceeclef.pbwiki.comfor printed music,
books on music and recordings.
To which I add myself.
Inquiring minds want to know.
Right, Left, or Center,
we know a myth when
we see it. Especially delicious, this,
as it comes from the fevered mind
of Peter T. Denials, who never
misses an opportunity to
slam Wikipedia for unreliability.
What the fuck, dummer, does that have to do with bush's "emergency"
presidential directive?
Peter T. Daniels
2007-08-17 03:31:00 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Norman M. Schwartz
Post by Don Salad
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Irrelevant (not to mention unreliable, being wikipedia). "Homeland" is
the precise translation of "Heimat" used when rendering Nazi
propaganda, and it had _never_ before been used wrt the US.
"Homeland Security"
Post by Peter T. Daniels
All the "positive" connotations you ascribe to the word in German are
precisely what are so worrying.
And now worrying in American.
Don't worry! "Americans" will vote OUT the likes of what Germans voted IN!
They did, you know, set up a mechanism for setting aside the electoral
process in 2008, in case of "national emergency" -- where the
president alone decides what a national emergency is.
Citation for 'they' etc. please.-
I believe I actually posted a link to it at the White House website
here. Presidential something-or-other no. 51, and some idiot looked up
Reagan's no. 51. Don't you remember that?
John Wiser
2007-08-16 21:50:29 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
They did, you know, set up a mechanism for setting aside the electoral
process in 2008, in case of "national emergency" -- where the
president alone decides what a national emergency is.
Did "they" now?

We are all on tenterhooks
waiting for you to cite
chapter and verse

cordially
--
John Wiser
***@frontiernet.net
***@frontiernet.net
visit http://jicotea.pbwiki.com for my book lists
visit http://ceeclef.pbwiki.com for printed music,
books on music and recordings.
Peter T. Daniels
2007-08-17 03:32:27 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by John Wiser
Post by Peter T. Daniels
They did, you know, set up a mechanism for setting aside the electoral
process in 2008, in case of "national emergency" -- where the
president alone decides what a national emergency is.
Did "they" now?
We are all on tenterhooks
waiting for you to cite
chapter and verse
Try listening (or, gasp, reading!) the news sometime.
John Wiser
2007-08-17 04:48:54 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by John Wiser
Post by Peter T. Daniels
They did, you know, set up a mechanism for setting aside the electoral
process in 2008, in case of "national emergency" -- where the
president alone decides what a national emergency is.
Did "they" now?
We are all on tenterhooks
waiting for you to cite
chapter and verse
Try listening (or, gasp, reading!) the news sometime.
This does not constitute a valid citation.

JDW
John Briggs
2007-08-17 12:17:59 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by John Wiser
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by John Wiser
Post by Peter T. Daniels
They did, you know, set up a mechanism for setting aside the
electoral process in 2008, in case of "national emergency" --
where the president alone decides what a national emergency is.
Did "they" now?
We are all on tenterhooks
waiting for you to cite
chapter and verse
Try listening (or, gasp, reading!) the news sometime.
This does not constitute a valid citation.
Just to annoy everyone, I shall cite the Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_and_Homeland_Security_Presidential_Directive
--
John Briggs
Peter T. Daniels
2007-08-17 14:57:31 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by John Wiser
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by John Wiser
Post by Peter T. Daniels
They did, you know, set up a mechanism for setting aside the
electoral process in 2008, in case of "national emergency" --
where the president alone decides what a national emergency is.
Did "they" now?
We are all on tenterhooks
waiting for you to cite
chapter and verse
Try listening (or, gasp, reading!) the news sometime.
This does not constitute a valid citation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_and_Homeland_Security_...
Since dummer was too oblivious to notice it when it was front-page
news in May and June, is this likely to help?
Bob Harper
2007-08-17 16:18:11 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by John Wiser
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by John Wiser
Post by Peter T. Daniels
They did, you know, set up a mechanism for setting aside the
electoral process in 2008, in case of "national emergency" --
where the president alone decides what a national emergency is.
Did "they" now?
We are all on tenterhooks
waiting for you to cite
chapter and verse
Try listening (or, gasp, reading!) the news sometime.
This does not constitute a valid citation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_and_Homeland_Security_...
Since dummer was too oblivious to notice it when it was front-page
news in May and June, is this likely to help?
OK, I've now read the Wiki article. The notion that this document makes
likely the cancellation of the '08 election belongs in the aluminum foil
hat realm of paranoia. Get real.

Bob Harper
John Briggs
2007-08-17 18:26:02 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Bob Harper
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by John Wiser
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by John Wiser
Post by Peter T. Daniels
They did, you know, set up a mechanism for setting aside the
electoral process in 2008, in case of "national emergency" --
where the president alone decides what a national emergency is.
Did "they" now?
We are all on tenterhooks
waiting for you to cite
chapter and verse
Try listening (or, gasp, reading!) the news sometime.
This does not constitute a valid citation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_and_Homeland_Security_...
Since dummer was too oblivious to notice it when it was front-page
news in May and June, is this likely to help?
OK, I've now read the Wiki article. The notion that this document
makes likely the cancellation of the '08 election belongs in the
aluminum foil hat realm of paranoia. Get real.
Nobody said it makes it likely - the debate is over whether it makes it
possible.
--
John Briggs
John Briggs
2007-08-17 18:26:47 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by John Wiser
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by John Wiser
Post by Peter T. Daniels
They did, you know, set up a mechanism for setting aside the
electoral process in 2008, in case of "national emergency" --
where the president alone decides what a national emergency is.
Did "they" now?
We are all on tenterhooks
waiting for you to cite
chapter and verse
Try listening (or, gasp, reading!) the news sometime.
This does not constitute a valid citation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_and_Homeland_Security_...
Since dummer was too oblivious to notice it when it was front-page
news in May and June, is this likely to help?
Who said I was trying to help?
:-)
--
John Briggs
Peter T. Daniels
2007-08-17 20:40:14 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by John Briggs
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by John Wiser
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by John Wiser
Post by Peter T. Daniels
They did, you know, set up a mechanism for setting aside the
electoral process in 2008, in case of "national emergency" --
where the president alone decides what a national emergency is.
Did "they" now?
We are all on tenterhooks
waiting for you to cite
chapter and verse
Try listening (or, gasp, reading!) the news sometime.
This does not constitute a valid citation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_and_Homeland_Security_...
Since dummer was too oblivious to notice it when it was front-page
news in May and June, is this likely to help?
Who said I was trying to help?
:-)
He needs all the help he can get ...
Andrej Kluge
2007-08-16 11:53:49 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Hi,
Post by Risto Karttunen
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heimat
See also http://www.andreasferl.de/Lieder/Heimat.htm :-)

(with lyrics in English, plus MP3)

A very nice song by the way, which we often used to sing when I was a kid in
school. Not easy to sing for children actually, because of its peculiar
tonal changes.

Ciao
A.
Michael Haslam
2007-08-23 17:22:47 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Andrej Kluge
Hi,
Post by Risto Karttunen
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heimat
See also http://www.andreasferl.de/Lieder/Heimat.htm :-)
(with lyrics in English, plus MP3)
A very nice song by the way, which we often used to sing when I was a kid in
school. Not easy to sing for children actually, because of its peculiar
tonal changes.
ISTR a movement in Britten's Recorder Trio titled Der Heimat. Is that
possible? I think there was a Swiss aspect. Are they allowed a Heimat
without Nazi overtones?
--
MJHaslam
Remove accidentals to obtain correct e-address
Peter T. Daniels
2007-08-23 21:24:17 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Michael Haslam
Hi,
Post by Risto Karttunen
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heimat
See alsohttp://www.andreasferl.de/Lieder/Heimat.htm:-)
(with lyrics in English, plus MP3)
A very nice song by the way, which we often used to sing when I was a kid in
school. Not easy to sing for children actually, because of its peculiar
tonal changes.
ISTR a movement in Britten's Recorder Trio titled Der Heimat. Is that
possible? I think there was a Swiss aspect. Are they allowed a Heimat
without Nazi overtones?
Britten's recorder pieces stem from a Swiss skiing holiday when
someone got laid up in the chalet and asked for something to do.
(There's a recent recording of the Complete Works for Recorder of
Britten and Rubbra, and none of them turn out to be of much interest.)
Richard Loeb
2007-08-15 17:18:52 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Otto Seifert
Post by Premise Checker
[Linked by Arts & Letters Daily.]
7.8.5
His operas sell out immediately. His theories changed classical music. His
artistic legacy still divides his warring family. Millions either love him
obsessively or hate him passionately
Richard Wagner - or, rather, the Wagner dynasty - is in the news
again,
[snip]
Is there any real evidence that Wagner was Hitler's favourite composer?
('Favourite' is the operative word here.)
According to Speer (or one of that crowd) the music Hitler listened to in
the evenings after dinner was mainly Viennese operetta.
I'm not saying the Nazis didn't like Wagner and even supported Bayreuth, but
I suspect that was part and parcel of their obsession with the Teutonic
heritage.
Keith Edgerley
The Nazis tried to "re-invent" Wagner to suit their political
ambitions. As his music is quintessentially Teutonic, it was an
obvious choice. The fact that Wagner was anti-Semitic was a real bonus
to them and of course they exploited this to the full. That said, most
of Europe was anti-Semitic during the 19th century. I neither know nor
care if Wagner was Hitler's favourite composer, it doesn't diminish
his genius.
Otto Seifert.
"As his music is quintessentially Teutonic"

what in the world does that mean????? Richard
Paul Goldstein
2007-08-15 20:29:06 UTC
Reply
Permalink
In article <***@g4g2000hsf.googlegroups.com>, Otto Seifert
says...
Post by Otto Seifert
Post by Premise Checker
[Linked by Arts & Letters Daily.]
7.8.5
His operas sell out immediately. His theories changed classical music. His
artistic legacy still divides his warring family. Millions either love him
obsessively or hate him passionately
Richard Wagner - or, rather, the Wagner dynasty - is in the news
again,
[snip]
Is there any real evidence that Wagner was Hitler's favourite composer?
('Favourite' is the operative word here.)
According to Speer (or one of that crowd) the music Hitler listened to in
the evenings after dinner was mainly Viennese operetta.
I'm not saying the Nazis didn't like Wagner and even supported Bayreuth, but
I suspect that was part and parcel of their obsession with the Teutonic
heritage.
Keith Edgerley
The Nazis tried to "re-invent" Wagner to suit their political
ambitions.
What "re-invention" of Wagner was necessary to make him more suitable to the
Nazis' political ambitions?
Post by Otto Seifert
As his music is quintessentially Teutonic, it was an
obvious choice. The fact that Wagner was anti-Semitic was a real bonus
to them and of course they exploited this to the full.
You speak as if Wagner's anti-semitism was a mere fortuity to the Nazis. In
reality, Hitler's brand of anti-semitism derived directly from that of Wagner
(Das Judentum in der Musik) and the Bayreuth circle (Chamberlain).
Richard Loeb
2007-08-15 20:46:59 UTC
Reply
Permalink
"In
Post by Paul Goldstein
reality, Hitler's brand of anti-semitism derived directly from that of Wagner
(Das Judentum in der Musik) and the Bayreuth circle (Chamberlain)."
Oh really?? - what was Hitlers' "brand of anti-semitism"(!!!) and how did it
emerge full grown after Hitler read Wagner's essay???
This is the kind if nonsense that has been thrown around for a long time
and will continue to be thrown around by those who already have their
little "Wagner and the Jews" agenda already worked out. Bears very little
relationship to the facts but truthfully, its not worth following through in
any great detail since reality has little to do statements such as the
above - absolute rubbish. Richard
Post by Paul Goldstein
says...
Post by Otto Seifert
Post by Premise Checker
[Linked by Arts & Letters Daily.]
7.8.5
His operas sell out immediately. His theories changed classical music. His
artistic legacy still divides his warring family. Millions either love him
obsessively or hate him passionately
Richard Wagner - or, rather, the Wagner dynasty - is in the news
again,
[snip]
Is there any real evidence that Wagner was Hitler's favourite composer?
('Favourite' is the operative word here.)
According to Speer (or one of that crowd) the music Hitler listened to in
the evenings after dinner was mainly Viennese operetta.
I'm not saying the Nazis didn't like Wagner and even supported Bayreuth, but
I suspect that was part and parcel of their obsession with the Teutonic
heritage.
Keith Edgerley
The Nazis tried to "re-invent" Wagner to suit their political
ambitions.
What "re-invention" of Wagner was necessary to make him more suitable to the
Nazis' political ambitions?
Post by Otto Seifert
As his music is quintessentially Teutonic, it was an
obvious choice. The fact that Wagner was anti-Semitic was a real bonus
to them and of course they exploited this to the full.
You speak as if Wagner's anti-semitism was a mere fortuity to the Nazis.
In
reality, Hitler's brand of anti-semitism derived directly from that of Wagner
(Das Judentum in der Musik) and the Bayreuth circle (Chamberlain).
Paul Goldstein
2007-08-15 22:51:13 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Richard Loeb
"In
Post by Paul Goldstein
reality, Hitler's brand of anti-semitism derived directly from that of Wagner
(Das Judentum in der Musik) and the Bayreuth circle (Chamberlain)."
Oh really?? - what was Hitlers' "brand of anti-semitism"(!!!) and how did it
emerge full grown after Hitler read Wagner's essay???
This is the kind if nonsense that has been thrown around for a long time
and will continue to be thrown around by those who already have their
little "Wagner and the Jews" agenda already worked out. Bears very little
relationship to the facts but truthfully, its not worth following through in
any great detail since reality has little to do statements such as the
above - absolute rubbish. Richard
My only "agenda" is to try to understand things, Richard. Are you saying that
it is an error to charge Wagner with anti-semitism? Have you read Das Judentum
in der Musik? What does that text mean to you? Have you ever read Houston
Stewart Chamberlain's writings (e.g Foundations of the 19th Century), or a
reliable account thereof? Have you read any contemporary scholarship regarding
the origins of - yes - Hitler's brand of anti-semitism, for example Saul
Friedlander's Nazi Germany and the Jews, Vol. 1: The Years of Persecution?
It's easy to say that it's "not worth following through in any great detail"
when you don't know what you are talking about.
Richard Loeb
2007-08-15 23:36:59 UTC
Reply
Permalink
***@newsguy.com> wrote in message nsemitic to a degree ( we all know
that)
Post by Paul Goldstein
Post by Richard Loeb
"In
Post by Paul Goldstein
reality, Hitler's brand of anti-semitism derived directly from that of Wagner
(Das Judentum in der Musik) and the Bayreuth circle (Chamberlain)."
Oh really?? - what was Hitlers' "brand of anti-semitism"(!!!) and how did it
emerge full grown after Hitler read Wagner's essay???
This is the kind if nonsense that has been thrown around for a long time
and will continue to be thrown around by those who already have their
little "Wagner and the Jews" agenda already worked out. Bears very little
relationship to the facts but truthfully, its not worth following through in
any great detail since reality has little to do statements such as the
above - absolute rubbish. Richard
My only "agenda" is to try to understand things, Richard. Are you saying that
it is an error to charge Wagner with anti-semitism? Have you read Das Judentum
in der Musik? What does that text mean to you? Have you ever read Houston
Stewart Chamberlain's writings (e.g Foundations of the 19th Century), or a
reliable account thereof? Have you read any contemporary scholarship regarding
the origins of - yes - Hitler's brand of anti-semitism, for example Saul
Friedlander's Nazi Germany and the Jews, Vol. 1: The Years of
Persecution?
It's easy to say that it's "not worth following through in any great detail"
when you don't know what you are talking about.
Yes I have read a great deal about the subject for longer than I want to
remember - Yes I have read as much of Chamberlain as I could stomach ( and a
turgid read it is as well) as well as "Judentum" Yes, Wagner was
anti-semitic - we all know that. However the Friedlander book goes way off
the rails when it starts to connect the works of Wagner to Naziism. Yes many
Nazis knew the works of Wagner and yes many abrogated the Ring and
Meistersinger as some kind of Nazi ode - but you can't fault Wagner for
that.There is not one bit of music in any of Wagners works that has the
slightest bit of anti-semitic meaning - not one measure. There are no
"hidden meanings" no "codes" - Mime doesn't represent the Jews, etc. The
proof for me is if you ask a person who knows nothing about Wagner's
anti-semitism (if you could find one) what they think about the Ring - won't
they think its anti-semtitic??? the answer you will get is NO. Richard
Paul Goldstein
2007-08-16 00:25:12 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Richard Loeb
that)
Post by Paul Goldstein
Post by Richard Loeb
"In
Post by Paul Goldstein
reality, Hitler's brand of anti-semitism derived directly from that of Wagner
(Das Judentum in der Musik) and the Bayreuth circle (Chamberlain)."
Oh really?? - what was Hitlers' "brand of anti-semitism"(!!!) and how did it
emerge full grown after Hitler read Wagner's essay???
This is the kind if nonsense that has been thrown around for a long time
and will continue to be thrown around by those who already have their
little "Wagner and the Jews" agenda already worked out. Bears very little
relationship to the facts but truthfully, its not worth following through in
any great detail since reality has little to do statements such as the
above - absolute rubbish. Richard
My only "agenda" is to try to understand things, Richard. Are you saying that
it is an error to charge Wagner with anti-semitism? Have you read Das Judentum
in der Musik? What does that text mean to you? Have you ever read Houston
Stewart Chamberlain's writings (e.g Foundations of the 19th Century), or a
reliable account thereof? Have you read any contemporary scholarship regarding
the origins of - yes - Hitler's brand of anti-semitism, for example Saul
Friedlander's Nazi Germany and the Jews, Vol. 1: The Years of Persecution?
It's easy to say that it's "not worth following through in any great detail"
when you don't know what you are talking about.
Yes I have read a great deal about the subject for longer than I want to
remember - Yes I have read as much of Chamberlain as I could stomach ( and a
turgid read it is as well) as well as "Judentum" Yes, Wagner was
anti-semitic - we all know that. However the Friedlander book goes way off
the rails when it starts to connect the works of Wagner to Naziism. Yes many
Nazis knew the works of Wagner and yes many abrogated the Ring and
Meistersinger as some kind of Nazi ode - but you can't fault Wagner for
that.There is not one bit of music in any of Wagners works that has the
slightest bit of anti-semitic meaning - not one measure. There are no
"hidden meanings" no "codes" - Mime doesn't represent the Jews, etc. The
proof for me is if you ask a person who knows nothing about Wagner's
anti-semitism (if you could find one) what they think about the Ring - won't
they think its anti-semtitic??? the answer you will get is NO. Richard
Nothing in this reply supports your original response to my post. Read what I
wrote carefully. I did not say that Hitler's brand of anti-semitism derived
from Wagner's *music*. In his *writings*, Wagner articulated (so to speak) a
specific brand of anti-semitism - one which defined the mission of the German
people to rid the world of "Jewishness" in all of its alleged manifestations -
which Hitler adopted wholesale in his articulation of Nazi anti-semitism. Of
this there can be no real doubt. The anti-semitic tendencies of Wagner's operas
may be open to reasonable debate. But the ambiguity of Wagner's art does not
detract in any way from the fact of Wagner's (and the Bayreuth circle's)
decisive ideological influence on Nazism.
Richard Loeb
2007-08-16 00:35:48 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Paul Goldstein
Post by Richard Loeb
that)
Post by Paul Goldstein
Post by Richard Loeb
"In
Post by Paul Goldstein
reality, Hitler's brand of anti-semitism derived directly from that of Wagner
(Das Judentum in der Musik) and the Bayreuth circle (Chamberlain)."
Oh really?? - what was Hitlers' "brand of anti-semitism"(!!!) and how
did
it
emerge full grown after Hitler read Wagner's essay???
This is the kind if nonsense that has been thrown around for a long time
and will continue to be thrown around by those who already have their
little "Wagner and the Jews" agenda already worked out. Bears very little
relationship to the facts but truthfully, its not worth following
through
in
any great detail since reality has little to do statements such as the
above - absolute rubbish. Richard
My only "agenda" is to try to understand things, Richard. Are you
saying
that
it is an error to charge Wagner with anti-semitism? Have you read Das Judentum
in der Musik? What does that text mean to you? Have you ever read Houston
Stewart Chamberlain's writings (e.g Foundations of the 19th Century), or a
reliable account thereof? Have you read any contemporary scholarship regarding
the origins of - yes - Hitler's brand of anti-semitism, for example Saul
Friedlander's Nazi Germany and the Jews, Vol. 1: The Years of Persecution?
It's easy to say that it's "not worth following through in any great detail"
when you don't know what you are talking about.
Yes I have read a great deal about the subject for longer than I want to
remember - Yes I have read as much of Chamberlain as I could stomach ( and a
turgid read it is as well) as well as "Judentum" Yes, Wagner was
anti-semitic - we all know that. However the Friedlander book goes way off
the rails when it starts to connect the works of Wagner to Naziism. Yes many
Nazis knew the works of Wagner and yes many abrogated the Ring and
Meistersinger as some kind of Nazi ode - but you can't fault Wagner for
that.There is not one bit of music in any of Wagners works that has the
slightest bit of anti-semitic meaning - not one measure. There are no
"hidden meanings" no "codes" - Mime doesn't represent the Jews, etc. The
proof for me is if you ask a person who knows nothing about Wagner's
anti-semitism (if you could find one) what they think about the Ring - won't
they think its anti-semtitic??? the answer you will get is NO. Richard
Nothing in this reply supports your original response to my post. Read what I
wrote carefully. I did not say that Hitler's brand of anti-semitism derived
from Wagner's *music*. In his *writings*, Wagner articulated (so to speak) a
specific brand of anti-semitism - one which defined the mission of the German
people to rid the world of "Jewishness" in all of its alleged
manifestations -
which Hitler adopted wholesale in his articulation of Nazi anti-semitism.
Of
this there can be no real doubt. The anti-semitic tendencies of Wagner's operas
may be open to reasonable debate. But the ambiguity of Wagner's art does not
detract in any way from the fact of Wagner's (and the Bayreuth circle's)
decisive ideological influence on Nazism.
"In his *writings*, Wagner articulated (so to speak) a
Post by Paul Goldstein
specific brand of anti-semitism - one which defined the mission of the German
people to rid the world of "Jewishness" in all of its alleged
manifestations -
which Hitler adopted wholesale in his articulation of Nazi anti-semitism.
Of
this there can be no real doubt""
Well I think there can be real doubt - Wagner was an anti-semite of sorts,
and we don't excuse that,
but nothing like the Nazi stereotype so many idiots still peddle; he was
not a racist as such (he was, for example, fiercely against slavery), he
didn't believe in "Jewish conspiracies" or any of that crap, he never
called for violence of any description, and he believed Jews should
assimilate into German society. If the Nazis had genuinely followed
Wagner, nobody Jewish would have been more than mildly insulted -- and
Wagner insulted *everybody*.

Richard
Ian Pace
2007-08-16 11:20:13 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Richard Loeb
Yes I have read a great deal about the subject for longer than I want to
remember - Yes I have read as much of Chamberlain as I could stomach ( and
a turgid read it is as well) as well as "Judentum" Yes, Wagner was
anti-semitic - we all know that. However the Friedlander book goes way off
the rails when it starts to connect the works of Wagner to Naziism. Yes
many Nazis knew the works of Wagner and yes many abrogated the Ring and
Meistersinger as some kind of Nazi ode - but you can't fault Wagner for
that.There is not one bit of music in any of Wagners works that has the
slightest bit of anti-semitic meaning - not one measure. There are no
"hidden meanings" no "codes" - Mime doesn't represent the Jews, etc.
I'm amazed you can be quite so categorical about it. There are many ideas
running through Wagner's operas that accord with anti-semitic stereotypes of
the time, whether or not characters are explicitly identified as Jewish or
not. And the whole ideologies that underly them (especially the Ring) have
sinister connotations as well.
Post by Richard Loeb
The proof for me is if you ask a person who knows nothing about Wagner's
anti-semitism (if you could find one) what they think about the Ring -
won't they think its anti-semtitic??? the answer you will get is NO.
Richard
I think many who know about 19th-century anti-semitic ideas probably would
see that. And I'm sure many contemporary audiences in Wagner's own time
would have done as well.

Ian
Richard Loeb
2007-08-16 12:09:53 UTC
Reply
Permalink
"I'm amazed you can be quite so categorical about it. There are many ideas
running through Wagner's operas that accord with anti-semitic stereotypes of
the time, whether or not characters are explicitly identified as Jewish or
not"
Post by Ian Pace
Post by Richard Loeb
Yes I have read a great deal about the subject for longer than I want to
remember - Yes I have read as much of Chamberlain as I could stomach (
and a turgid read it is as well) as well as "Judentum" Yes, Wagner was
anti-semitic - we all know that. However the Friedlander book goes way
off the rails when it starts to connect the works of Wagner to Naziism.
Yes many Nazis knew the works of Wagner and yes many abrogated the Ring
and Meistersinger as some kind of Nazi ode - but you can't fault Wagner
for that.There is not one bit of music in any of Wagners works that has
the slightest bit of anti-semitic meaning - not one measure. There are no
"hidden meanings" no "codes" - Mime doesn't represent the Jews, etc.
I'm amazed you can be quite so categorical about it. There are many ideas
running through Wagner's operas that accord with anti-semitic stereotypes
of the time, whether or not characters are explicitly identified as Jewish
or not. And the whole ideologies that underly them (especially the Ring)
have sinister connotations as well.
Post by Richard Loeb
The proof for me is if you ask a person who knows nothing about Wagner's
anti-semitism (if you could find one) what they think about the Ring -
won't they think its anti-semtitic??? the answer you will get is NO.
Richard
I think many who know about 19th-century anti-semitic ideas probably would
see that. And I'm sure many contemporary audiences in Wagner's own time
would have done as well.
Ian
If you want to see them that way of course they do, others may find no
stereotypes at all. But that does not reflect at all the idea that Wagner
purposely put them in there to reflect his own anti-semitism does it???.
First of all, Wagner being the person he was would have put no hidden
meanings or codes - the anti-semitism would be right out there. Regarding
the Ring we are talking about myth which means you can find just about
anything you want. I don't know what you mean by sinister connotations -
certainly the idea that love can redeem power for powers sake (or lets say
the acquisition of wealth for wealths sake) is not necessarily
anti-semitic.If you want to look for it, you can find it. Again if a person
had no idea about anti-semitism, either Wagners or the 19 th century, would
he, upon hearing the Ring think - oh thats anti-semtitic??? Again I am
waiting for an explanation for the answer "yes". And how do you know
audiences of Wagners time would have nudged each other about the supposed
anti-semitism - are there any written accounts to substantiate that other
then the crap coming from the Wagner circle??? Richard
William Sommerwerck
2007-08-16 13:23:42 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Ian Pace
I'm amazed you can be quite so categorical about it. There are many
ideas running through Wagner's operas that accord with anti-semitic
stereotypes of the time, whether or not characters are explicitly
identified as Jewish or not. And the whole ideologies that underly
them (especially the Ring) have sinister connotations as well.
I'm curious as to what these are. Wagner was a virulent anti-Semite, but
I've never seen anything explicitly anti-Semitic -- or even veiled.

Now, as Wagner was a nationalist who extolled the virtues of the Nordic
races, one can certainly view _that_ -- and arguably the Ring -- as an
attack on other races. But to suggest (for example) that Alberich is a
money-grubbing Jew, though not implausible, seems to be stretching things.
Ian Pace
2007-08-16 20:45:07 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by William Sommerwerck
Post by Ian Pace
I'm amazed you can be quite so categorical about it. There are many
ideas running through Wagner's operas that accord with anti-semitic
stereotypes of the time, whether or not characters are explicitly
identified as Jewish or not. And the whole ideologies that underly
them (especially the Ring) have sinister connotations as well.
I'm curious as to what these are. Wagner was a virulent anti-Semite, but
I've never seen anything explicitly anti-Semitic -- or even veiled.
Now, as Wagner was a nationalist who extolled the virtues of the Nordic
races, one can certainly view _that_ -- and arguably the Ring -- as an
attack on other races. But to suggest (for example) that Alberich is a
money-grubbing Jew, though not implausible, seems to be stretching things.
It's not just about Jewish people or anti-semitism - to the 19th century
romantic nationalist, the Jew was a construction of all their fears, the
supposedly cosmopolitan, rootless, 'other' of their mythical folk bound to
the land. Herderian romanticism, a hugely influential ideology in the 19th
century, believed in idealised notions of pre-industrial societies, harmonic
communities united by race or nationality, before all the supposed decadence
of industrialisation, urbanisation, and so on. It's not for nothing that the
Rhinemaidens, epitomising nature and the unchangeable, triumph by the end of
the Ring when all others have perished. National Socialism is simply a
particularly extreme rendition of this sort of ideology, a primal, mythical
vision put into operation by terrifying force.

Ian
Richard Loeb
2007-08-16 21:00:54 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Ian Pace
Post by William Sommerwerck
Post by Ian Pace
I'm amazed you can be quite so categorical about it. There are many
ideas running through Wagner's operas that accord with anti-semitic
stereotypes of the time, whether or not characters are explicitly
identified as Jewish or not. And the whole ideologies that underly
them (especially the Ring) have sinister connotations as well.
I'm curious as to what these are. Wagner was a virulent anti-Semite, but
I've never seen anything explicitly anti-Semitic -- or even veiled.
Now, as Wagner was a nationalist who extolled the virtues of the Nordic
races, one can certainly view _that_ -- and arguably the Ring -- as an
attack on other races. But to suggest (for example) that Alberich is a
money-grubbing Jew, though not implausible, seems to be stretching things.
It's not just about Jewish people or anti-semitism - to the 19th century
romantic nationalist, the Jew was a construction of all their fears, the
supposedly cosmopolitan, rootless, 'other' of their mythical folk bound to
the land. Herderian romanticism, a hugely influential ideology in the 19th
century, believed in idealised notions of pre-industrial societies,
harmonic communities united by race or nationality, before all the
supposed decadence of industrialisation, urbanisation, and so on. It's not
for nothing that the Rhinemaidens, epitomising nature and the
unchangeable, triumph by the end of the Ring when all others have
perished. National Socialism is simply a particularly extreme rendition of
this sort of ideology, a primal, mythical vision put into operation by
terrifying force.
Ian
Interesting but that hardly validates any notion that Wagner constructed his
Ring to demonstrate in any specific way such theories about the Jews. If you
are trying to say that anti-semitism is there regardless of what Wagner was
trying to show us just because Wagner was, well, a man of his time, well
thats a whole other issue.
The original issue before us was whether Wagner's writings influenced
National Socialism. My view is that though the Nazis usurped and distorted
Wagners views to fit their own ideology, an unbiased reading and
understanding of his works show that the aims of National Socialism had
little or nothing to do with them. Richard
Ian Pace
2007-08-16 21:21:49 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Richard Loeb
Post by Ian Pace
It's not just about Jewish people or anti-semitism - to the 19th century
romantic nationalist, the Jew was a construction of all their fears, the
supposedly cosmopolitan, rootless, 'other' of their mythical folk bound
to the land. Herderian romanticism, a hugely influential ideology in the
19th century, believed in idealised notions of pre-industrial societies,
harmonic communities united by race or nationality, before all the
supposed decadence of industrialisation, urbanisation, and so on. It's
not for nothing that the Rhinemaidens, epitomising nature and the
unchangeable, triumph by the end of the Ring when all others have
perished. National Socialism is simply a particularly extreme rendition
of this sort of ideology, a primal, mythical vision put into operation by
terrifying force.
Ian
Interesting but that hardly validates any notion that Wagner constructed
his Ring to demonstrate in any specific way such theories about the Jews.
If you are trying to say that anti-semitism is there regardless of what
Wagner was trying to show us just because Wagner was, well, a man of his
time, well thats a whole other issue.
Racial anti-semitism springs from the same roots as that ideology, whichever
mythical figure serves as the locus of such fears. But there is quite a bit
of concrete evidence that Wagner did intend some of his characters as
anti-semitic cyphers (I don't have the details to hand, but plenty of people
have looked into this in detail). And Beckmesser was originally to be called
'Hans Lick' after the Jewish critic (and Wagner-hater) Eduard Hanslick, who
Wagner attacked specifically for being Jewish in the 1869 postscript to his
'Judaism in Music' I believe that in the nineteenth century, Jewish people
were believed to have nasal, high-pitched voices, exactly as Wagner gives
Mime. And from what I recall, it was also a popular stereotype that Jewish
people would stab good Germans in the back (a stereotype that became even
more vicious after WW1), as Hagen does.
Post by Richard Loeb
The original issue before us was whether Wagner's writings influenced
National Socialism. My view is that though the Nazis usurped and distorted
Wagners views to fit their own ideology, an unbiased reading and
understanding of his works show that the aims of National Socialism had
little or nothing to do with them. Richard
That might work if there was the slightest bit of evidence that the leading
Nazis, or at least Hitler, knew Wagner's writings. Richard J. Evans has
looked into this question and concluded that there is no such evidence.

Ian
Richard Loeb
2007-08-16 21:38:02 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Ian Pace
Post by Richard Loeb
Post by Ian Pace
It's not just about Jewish people or anti-semitism - to the 19th century
romantic nationalist, the Jew was a construction of all their fears, the
supposedly cosmopolitan, rootless, 'other' of their mythical folk bound
to the land. Herderian romanticism, a hugely influential ideology in the
19th century, believed in idealised notions of pre-industrial societies,
harmonic communities united by race or nationality, before all the
supposed decadence of industrialisation, urbanisation, and so on. It's
not for nothing that the Rhinemaidens, epitomising nature and the
unchangeable, triumph by the end of the Ring when all others have
perished. National Socialism is simply a particularly extreme rendition
of this sort of ideology, a primal, mythical vision put into operation
by terrifying force.
Ian
Interesting but that hardly validates any notion that Wagner constructed
his Ring to demonstrate in any specific way such theories about the Jews.
If you are trying to say that anti-semitism is there regardless of what
Wagner was trying to show us just because Wagner was, well, a man of his
time, well thats a whole other issue.
Racial anti-semitism springs from the same roots as that ideology,
whichever mythical figure serves as the locus of such fears. But there is
quite a bit of concrete evidence that Wagner did intend some of his
characters as anti-semitic cyphers (I don't have the details to hand, but
plenty of people have looked into this in detail). And Beckmesser was
originally to be called 'Hans Lick' after the Jewish critic (and
Wagner-hater) Eduard Hanslick, who Wagner attacked specifically for being
Jewish in the 1869 postscript to his 'Judaism in Music' I believe that in
the nineteenth century, Jewish people were believed to have nasal,
high-pitched voices, exactly as Wagner gives Mime. And from what I recall,
it was also a popular stereotype that Jewish people would stab good
Germans in the back (a stereotype that became even more vicious after
WW1), as Hagen does.
Post by Richard Loeb
The original issue before us was whether Wagner's writings influenced
National Socialism. My view is that though the Nazis usurped and
distorted Wagners views to fit their own ideology, an unbiased reading
and understanding of his works show that the aims of National Socialism
had little or nothing to do with them. Richard
That might work if there was the slightest bit of evidence that the
leading Nazis, or at least Hitler, knew Wagner's writings. Richard J.
Evans has looked into this question and concluded that there is no such
evidence.
Ian
What concrete evidence??? - there is absolutely nothing in the writing for
Mime that one would associate with Jewishness if one did look for it in the
first place. Wagner gives quite a description of Mime - why did he omit
items like the character has a hook nose and gestures with his hands???.(I
hope you are not referring to writers like Barry Millington who, for all of
his good points, look for any bit of supposed anti-semitism under any rock
they can lift). And you can't be serious about the stabbing in the back - a
hero being stabbed in a vulnerable place goes back to more than one ancient
myth - would you have Wagner omit it??? As for the Hans Lick story - it
could be true that Wagner had for a short time thought of using that name
but why wouldn't you think it was because Hanslick was an influential critic
who disliked Wagners work rather than the fact that Wagner was using the
character an anti-semitic symbol, besides the fact that having Beckmesser be
the slightest bit Jewish wouldn't exactly fit the story sensibly.. Sorry I
don't buy it - there is far too little substantive evidence to show that
there is anything anti-semitic in these works and far too much to show that
Wagner didn't put such ideas in them.. Richard
Ian Pace
2007-08-17 00:57:11 UTC
Reply
Permalink
As for the Hans Lick story - it could be true that Wagner had for a short
time thought of using that name but why wouldn't you think it was because
Hanslick was an influential critic who disliked Wagners work rather than
the fact that Wagner was using the character an anti-semitic symbol,
Wagner *did* use Hanslick directly for the purposes of anti-semitic
arguments in 1869, as I said before. It's one thing to attack a critic
because you dislike all that they write, or for reasons of personal feuds,
another thing to directly invoke that critics Jewishness as the grounds for
attacking them.

Ian
Richard Loeb
2007-08-17 01:36:13 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Ian Pace
As for the Hans Lick story - it could be true that Wagner had for a short
time thought of using that name but why wouldn't you think it was because
Hanslick was an influential critic who disliked Wagners work rather than
the fact that Wagner was using the character an anti-semitic symbol,
Wagner *did* use Hanslick directly for the purposes of anti-semitic
arguments in 1869, as I said before. It's one thing to attack a critic
because you dislike all that they write, or for reasons of personal feuds,
another thing to directly invoke that critics Jewishness as the grounds
for attacking them.
Ian
Where in the Meistersinger score is Beckmesser specifically depicted as
having Jewish characteristics????? The vocal line is nothing like the
supposedly Jewish vocal line ascribed to Mime; the depiction of character
has no monetary interest. etc. so where is it????? Wagner may have
attacked Hanslicks Jewishness in non-musical writings but thats not the
issue here - its where in Wagners operas do anti-semitic elements appear.
You keep saying they are there but you never show me where they are. Richard
James Kahn
2007-08-17 03:56:56 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Richard Loeb
Wagner may have
attacked Hanslicks Jewishness in non-musical writings but thats not the
issue here - its where in Wagners operas do anti-semitic elements appear.
You keep saying they are there but you never show me where they are. Richard
When I raised this issue in another group, someone responded:

"Anti-semitism not evident? One glaring example - the Siegfried-Mime
dialogues. Typical Uebbermench-Untermench metaphor. The blue eyed
blond haired god like hero versus the deformed nasty whiney dwarf.
Metaphor for Germanic superman versus the despised Jew if ever there
was one."

I guess people can read into things if they're determined to do so.
--
Jim
New York, NY
(Please remove "nospam." to get my e-mail address)
http://www.panix.com/~kahn
Richard Loeb
2007-08-17 04:28:37 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by James Kahn
Post by Richard Loeb
Wagner may have
attacked Hanslicks Jewishness in non-musical writings but thats not the
issue here - its where in Wagners operas do anti-semitic elements appear.
You keep saying they are there but you never show me where they are. Richard
"Anti-semitism not evident? One glaring example - the Siegfried-Mime
dialogues. Typical Uebbermench-Untermench metaphor. The blue eyed
blond haired god like hero versus the deformed nasty whiney dwarf.
Metaphor for Germanic superman versus the despised Jew if ever there
was one."
I guess people can read into things if they're determined to do so.
--
Jim
New York, NY
(Please remove "nospam." to get my e-mail address)
http://www.panix.com/~kahn
Exactly right - its ridiculous. Richard
Matthew B. Tepper
2007-08-17 18:25:24 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by James Kahn
Wagner may have attacked Hanslicks Jewishness in non-musical writings but
thats not the issue here - its where in Wagners operas do anti-semitic
elements appear. You keep saying they are there but you never show me
where they are. Richard
"Anti-semitism not evident? One glaring example - the Siegfried-Mime
dialogues. Typical Uebbermench-Untermench metaphor. The blue eyed blond
haired god like hero versus the deformed nasty whiney dwarf. Metaphor for
Germanic superman versus the despised Jew if ever there was one."
I guess people can read into things if they're determined to do so.
As I wrote some years ago in response to a letter in the Calendar section
of the Los Angeles Times:

I have nothing but the deepest compassion for letter-writer Maurice Kornberg
(Letters, July 29), whose family members were murdered by the Nazis. But his
characterization of "Siegfried" as Wagner's prototype of "the ideal human
specimen" demonstrated his understandable unfamiliarity with the music and
the story line of _The Ring of the Nibelungs_.

Far from an "ideal," Siegfried as portrayed by Wagner is stupid, thoughtless,
easily angered and more easily duped. A catalogue of his inadequacies would
run long but let's take on a few: He is the product of an incestuous
relationship between twin brother and sister; he abuses and kills the person
who has raised him since infancy; he torments a wild bear; he murders a
dragon who has not threatened him; he insults and disarms his own
grandfather; he beds his own aunt; he falls in with bad influences among the
nobility; he betrays his aunt/lover in order to pursue another woman; he
steals back the Ring he had given as pledge of his love; he betrays his
friend the king with whom he had sworn blood-brotherhood; he perjures himself
before the king's court; he contemptuously rejects potentially life-saving
advice; and he is finally and literally stabbed in the back by the one person
he should least have trusted.

Certainly there are extenuating dramatic circumstances for each of the above,
but even so, I'd hardly consider Siegfried an "ideal" of any kind! If
anything, his shortcomings in many ways mirror those of the one person Wagner
knew and loved better than anybody else: himself.
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page -- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page --- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Tom Deacon is a liar and a scoundrel who cannot hold on to a job.
Ian Pace
2007-08-16 11:13:28 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Richard Loeb
"In
Post by Paul Goldstein
reality, Hitler's brand of anti-semitism derived directly from that of Wagner
(Das Judentum in der Musik) and the Bayreuth circle (Chamberlain)."
Oh really?? - what was Hitlers' "brand of anti-semitism"(!!!) and how did
it emerge full grown after Hitler read Wagner's essay???
There is no evidence that Hitler ever read any of Wagner's writings.

Ian
Peter T. Daniels
2007-08-15 11:59:31 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Premise Checker
[Linked by Arts & Letters Daily.]
7.8.5
His operas sell out immediately. His theories changed classical music. His
artistic legacy still divides his warring family. Millions either love him
obsessively or hate him passionately
Richard Wagner - or, rather, the Wagner dynasty - is in the news
again,
[snip]
Is there any real evidence that Wagner was Hitler's favourite composer?
('Favourite' is the operative word here.)
According to Speer (or one of that crowd) the music Hitler listened to in
the evenings after dinner was mainly Viennese operetta.
I'm not saying the Nazis didn't like Wagner and even supported Bayreuth, but
I suspect that was part and parcel of their obsession with the Teutonic
heritage.
Did you hear about the supposed "Hitler's record collection" that was
just supposedly found in the attic of some Russian officer who looted
Berchtesgaden? (Was it here that I read about it? I don't think so.)
It supposedly included "Jewish music" and Russian -- Tchaikovsky and
Rachmaninoff were mentioned.
Keith Edgerley
2007-08-15 12:53:22 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Premise Checker
[Linked by Arts & Letters Daily.]
7.8.5
His operas sell out immediately. His theories changed classical music. His
artistic legacy still divides his warring family. Millions either love him
obsessively or hate him passionately
Richard Wagner - or, rather, the Wagner dynasty - is in the news
again,
[snip]
Is there any real evidence that Wagner was Hitler's favourite composer?
('Favourite' is the operative word here.)
According to Speer (or one of that crowd) the music Hitler listened to in
the evenings after dinner was mainly Viennese operetta.
I'm not saying the Nazis didn't like Wagner and even supported Bayreuth, but
I suspect that was part and parcel of their obsession with the Teutonic
heritage.
Did you hear about the supposed "Hitler's record collection" that was
just supposedly found in the attic of some Russian officer who looted
Berchtesgaden? (Was it here that I read about it? I don't think so.)
It supposedly included "Jewish music" and Russian -- Tchaikovsky and
Rachmaninoff were mentioned.
Wasn't it found in the Berlin bunker? IRRC it was the Americans that took
Bavaria.
There were other people in the Berlin bunker besides Hitler. Perhaps the
disks belonged to Dr Goebbels.Or Mrs Goebbels.

Keith Edgerley
Risto Karttunen
2007-08-15 13:06:21 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Keith Edgerley
Is there any real evidence that Wagner was Hitler's favourite composer?
Hitler admired Wagner as a dynamic and multi-talented representative
of the German culture, who overcomes every difficulty, but AFAIR
the composer whose _music_ Hitler liked best was Lehár.

--
risto
John W. Kennedy
2007-08-17 02:52:13 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Risto Karttunen
Post by Keith Edgerley
Is there any real evidence that Wagner was Hitler's favourite composer?
Hitler admired Wagner as a dynamic and multi-talented representative
of the German culture, who overcomes every difficulty, but AFAIR
the composer whose _music_ Hitler liked best was Lehár.
Despite the fact that Lehár's wife was Jewish? (Of course, Lehár's
principal rival, Kálmán, was Jewish, himself.)
--
John W. Kennedy
"When a man contemplates forcing his own convictions down another man's
throat, he is contemplating both an unchristian act and an act of
treason to the United States."
-- Joy Davidman, "Smoke on the Mountain"
Wayne Reimer
2007-08-17 06:07:36 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by John W. Kennedy
Post by Risto Karttunen
Post by Keith Edgerley
Is there any real evidence that Wagner was Hitler's favourite composer?
Hitler admired Wagner as a dynamic and multi-talented representative
of the German culture, who overcomes every difficulty, but AFAIR
the composer whose _music_ Hitler liked best was Lehár.
Despite the fact that Lehár's wife was Jewish? (Of course, Lehár's
principal rival, Kálmán, was Jewish, himself.)
Which brings up the interesting question of whether Hitler personally
memorized lists of tens of thousands of men who had Jewish wives, so as
to be sure he never liked anything they produced.

wr
John W. Kennedy
2007-08-17 20:32:53 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Wayne Reimer
Post by John W. Kennedy
Post by Risto Karttunen
Post by Keith Edgerley
Is there any real evidence that Wagner was Hitler's favourite composer?
Hitler admired Wagner as a dynamic and multi-talented representative
of the German culture, who overcomes every difficulty, but AFAIR
the composer whose _music_ Hitler liked best was Lehár.
Despite the fact that Lehár's wife was Jewish? (Of course, Lehár's
principal rival, Kálmán, was Jewish, himself.)
Which brings up the interesting question of whether Hitler personally
memorized lists of tens of thousands of men who had Jewish wives, so as
to be sure he never liked anything they produced.
Do you spend your days counting not-black objects that are not crows?
--
John W. Kennedy
If Bill Gates believes in "intelligent design", why can't he apply it to
Windows?
Otto Seifert
2007-08-15 13:13:38 UTC
Reply
Permalink
http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/mus...
[Linked by Arts & Letters Daily.]
7.8.5
His operas sell out immediately. His theories changed classical music. His
artistic legacy still divides his warring family. Millions either love him
obsessively or hate him passionately
Richard Wagner - or, rather, the Wagner dynasty - is in the news
again, with intrigue about who in the family will inherit the
directorship of the 131-year-old Bayreuth festival, created by the
composer in the theatre built specifically for the performance of
his work. Wagner occupies music and opera lovers as no other
composer does. Some unequivocally worship him, their trips to
Bayreuth akin to pilgrimages. Others revile him. Many can do both at
once, separating Wagner the composer from Wagner the self-obsessive,
a man who, though often penniless, lavishly spent others'
(particularly the adoring Ludwig II of Bavaria's) money, who freely
exercised his considerable libido, who demanded adoration and who
held some highly suspect views, on, for instance, Judaism. The music
itself requires much of us: endless uncomfortable hours in the opera
house, with outrageous demands upon not only time but concentration.
Many meekly enter his world on his terms - and gasp in amazement.
What makes this man and his work so important is, essentially, his
reforming spirit. He wanted to purify opera, to return to something
like the concept envisaged by its creators in the late 16th century,
one aimed at resurrecting the principles of Greek drama. So, he
dispensed with "number opera", with its distinct arias, ensembles,
choruses and recitatives, and came up instead with something
labelled the Ges-amtkunstwerk, the "total art work". In the
Gesamtkunstwerk, everything - orchestra, singers, scenery, acting;
even, ideally, the theatre itself - was a vital, inseparable part of
the whole. In this way, Wagner was able to express complex
psychologies. His was not the all-action opera of the French and
Italians, but an internal drama. It was a big idea, one that,
despite the limitations of the literal interpretations that were the
order of his day, has given today's interventionist directors huge
opportunities. A Ring production can have a Marxist leaning, since
one message of the opera allies itself to Proudhon's assertion that
property is theft. It can be inspired by the nihilism of
Schopen-hauer, since all comes to naught. Or it can be
psychoanalytical, a Jungian examination of the mind. And so on.
Fertile ground for continuing controversy.
The music is unique both in its epic scale and in its sound world,
structured in vast paragraphs and unified through the device of the
leitmotif, a snippet of music - a chord, a phrase - that signifies
thought, character, mood or symbol. These snippets may not be
consciously recognised and labelled, but their presence and
interreaction subliminally convey meaning and nuance. Wagner's role
in the evolution of music is crucial. His mature language is a
rich-textured, multi-layered sound, full of detail but never
confused. He uses a large orchestra, not just for its brute force,
but for the range of colours it offers. And he pushes the bounds of
tonality to the limit. Undoubtedly, the most talked-about chord in
all music is the so-called "Tristan chord", from Tristan und Isolde.
Isolated, it doesn't seem to be alluding to any key. And when Wagner
resolves it, he lands on another chord that leaves the music
lingering, suggesting longing, or maybe ecstasy, or maybe death
prolonged. It is just a small step from here to the atonal world of
Arnold Schoenberg and others.
Indeed, without Wagner, there would have been no Schoenberg, no
Richard Strauss, no Gustav Mahler - not, anyway, as we know them.
Debussy, for all his railings against Wagner, took on the German
composer's idea of opera as an integrated art form and a window onto
the innermost psyche in Pelléas et Mélisande.
So, Wagner opera remains in heavy demand whenever it's in town,
which is often. Keith Warner's finally complete production of The
Ring at Covent Garden, to be staged three times this autumn, is so
oversubscribed that patrons are being sold tickets for the
rehearsals. At Bayreuth, the waiting list for a ticket stretches
back 10 years. People return to Wagner again and again, not simply
to see yet another production or to hear a particular singer, but
because they know that even if it's the wrong singer for them and
the 10th time they have seen the staging, they can be pretty sure
another layer will reveal itself, another thought stirred.
What about those uncomfortable connections with the Nazis, though?
Wagner, it is true, was more or less adopted as the quintessential
Nazi composer in the early 1930s. Hitler adored his music. But that
was hardly the long-dead composer's fault. Another problem was that
Winifred, the British-born wife of Wagner's homosexual son,
Siegfried, was close to the Führer. In 1933, it was even rumoured
that the pair were to marry. This relationship is fascinatingly
charted in Jonathan Carr's forthcoming book The Wagner Clan, and, in
a rather different way, in AN Wilson's quasi-historical new novel,
Winnie and Wolf.
Winifred inherited the directorship at Bayreuth on her husband's
death, and thereafter Hitler began subsidising Bayreuth's coffers
more generously even than Ludwig II had done. Bayreuth in turn
mounted productions of Die Meistersinger that became ever more
tub-thumping celebrations of the glorious fatherland. The
institution was "Nazified". DeNazification was attempted after the
war, by replacing Winifred with her sons, Wieland and Wolfgang.
Despite radicalisation of production styles, it has proved hard to
rid Bayreuth of every trace of bad odour as long as it has remained
in family hands.
There is no question, of course, that Wagner was resolutely
antisemitic, becoming more so as he grew older. But how much that
had to do with pure prejudice and how much it was down to his
resentment that the Jewish composers Meyerbeer and Mendel-ssohn held
artistic sway in Paris and Germany at times when Wagner was eager to
make a name for himself in those places is debatable. Certainly, in
his notorious 1850 essay Judaism in Music (penned under a
pseudonym), he is ready to characterise all Jewish music, and the
music of these two men in particular, as superficial. That was an
unfair judgment, particularly upon Men-delssohn. But whether he
believed also that the only solution to perceived Jewish economic
and political dominance was their physical annihilation is another
matter. He was, after all, a libertarian revolutionary, forced to
flee Dresden in the suppressed 1849 uprising there, and he numbered
many Jews among his friends. But the Jewish issue is not one to be
belittled, and it is an aspect of Wagner that has guaranteed he will
remain for ever a talking point.
Indeed, Wagner's antisemitism and his association with the Nazis -
or, rather, their association with him - still means that there are
many who cannot bear to hear his music. Until fairly recently, it
was impossible to encounter it in the state of Israel, until that
great Wagnerian Daniel Barenboim decided to throw his considerable
moral weight behind the matter. And as that devout Wagnerian Michael
Portillo pertinently asked in a New Statesman article a couple of
years ago, why is it that a love of Wagner is so often taken to
signal right-wing, antisemitic tendencies when a love of Richard
Strauss, at least on occasion a Nazi sympathiser, signals only the
height of good taste?
Love the music or not, Wagner cannot be ignored. Larger than life in
his own lifetime, posthumously he gets no smaller. The Bayreuth
feuding might be what's in the news, but it's the art that
perpetuates the reputation. And whether it's young Katharina Wagner
who takes the reins of the family business, or her half-sister Eva,
or indeed her cousin Nike, one cannot change the reason for or the
importance of Bayreuth's existence.
* Have your say
There is no doubt that Wagner's innovative music is galvanising and
profound.
The part of the deal that causes outrage is the staging. I greatly
prefer live concert performances of Wagner. I still treasure the
memory of a concert performance of "Die Walküre" which I attended
many years ago in London.
The awful truth is that when the action is static the unedifying
spectacle of hefty, middle-aged singers heaving about in
inappropriate costumes, often ludicrously supposed to be socially
relevant, reduces the effect of the music and its content to bathos.
On the other hand, the sight of great singers and musicians losing
themselves in the spirit of the music is inspiring.
I recommend the Tolkein Ring movies to those who crave spectacle.
Janet Kenny, Point Vernon, Queensland, Australia
Who on Earth believes that "a love of Richard Strauss ... signals
only the height of good taste"?
As for Wagner's importance, he wrote a few good tunes, and made
important innovations in orchestration and structure, but I (like
most people, I suspect) find him largely dull. Also, as John
Borstlap said below, Wagner initiated the phenomenon of gigantism in
German music - his closest musical descendants would all benefit
from a little more discipline and a little less egoism.
Ford, Sydney,
Has Amos N Lenox ever heard Wagner in the theatre? Thirty years ago
I heard my first 'Ring' cycle at the English National Opera,
conducted by Sir Charles Groves, and was completely hooked - so much
so that at the end of Gotterdammerung I wanted it all to start
again! The sheer momentum of the cycle carried me along and the time
simply flew by! The 'Ring' can do this; 'Meistersinger' is wonderful
music but far too long (for me) ... but different scenarios result
in different music, and the effect on the same individual is bound
to vary.
Garry Humphreys, London, England
In the literary arena, Proust and Dickins certainly lack brevity of
ideas but they are still given their due. Regarding Wagner's tall
blonde heros and short quirky villans, consider his audience. If
Wagner were Italian I'm sure the opposite would be true. Should we
ban Shakespear because of Merchant Of Venice? No. I think too much
is made of an artist's philosophy. You can't fault the artists for
their fans.
Rich Hill, Prospect Park, PA/USA
Wagner's music is often brilliant. Wagner himself was an
overbearing, egotistical, immoral man. Then, after his death, he had
the misfortune of becoming Hitler's favorite composer.
His music was used beautifully in the Movie, Excalibur--probably the
best low-budget movie ever. Wagner's music actually works better in
film than in opera, where it can enter the artistic milieu at
crucial moments, then fade out. The problem with his operas is that
the moments of brilliance are separated by long periods of just
average stuff.
Given the terrible history of Nazism, I can understand why many
cannot appreciate Wagner. More often than not, great artists are
also terrible human beings--it seems to go with the territory. Also,
an appreciation of great art does not (contrary to popular belief)
make a person good or moral. Hitler not only loved Wagner, but also
(recent news stories revealed this) had a secret stash of well-used
records of Tchaikovsky, Borodin, and other Slavic composers.
Paul Weber, GILBERT, USA/Arizona
And Leni Rieffensthal just made a movie. So like what's the big
deal, right?
starry de cysis, Mountainview,
So NJ Levitt thinks "On that view, the cumulative effect of Wagner's
music, especially his most mature work, is to reveal a shriveled and
rather nasty persona unable to see his way past self pity." He's
right, of course, about Siegfried; try as I might, I find him very
hard to like. No matter how mistreated and ill-raised, I still would
not care to associate with him.
But unable to see his way past self-pity? Spend six hours with Die
Meistersinger, and reflect what a mature Wagner through Sachs looks
to say. The revolutionary of 1849 has been replaced by a wiser man
more willing to see where others are correct, not hating of his
enemies, and eager to guide and assist that "angry young man" to a
better art. The text of the Ring was written by that young
revolutionary, but Meistersinger is the mature Wagner. I don't see
the self-pity.
Tom Schmidt, Brooklyn, New York
Someone here said, "It is well known that Hitler loved Jewish music
in private."
Not so. That's a meme spreading from the article earlier this week
revealing that Adolf's large record collection included a
Tchaikovsky concerto that happened to be performed by a Jewish
violinist, and two Beethoven sonatas that happened to be performed
by a Jewish pianist. That is not "loving Jewish music in private."
In fact, Hitler hated Jewish composers and banned and exiled a
significant number of them. Several of them he had murdered in the
camps. Keep the record straight.
(Also remember Wagner died 50 years before the Nazis ever came to
power. Guilt by association is bad enough. Back-dating it is
stupid.)
David Johns, Seymour, USA/TN
I'm one of those dreadfully old-fashioned folk who believe that an
artist with a powerful talent, as Wagner assuredly was, creates a
body of work whose main revelation, when all is said, is the
character--the soul, to be even more old-fashioned--of the creator.
On that view, the cumulative effect of Wagner's music, especially
his most mature work, is to reveal a shriveled and rather nasty
persona unable to see his way past self pity. Brunhilde doesn't die
for love of Siegfried, nor Tristan and Isolde for love of each
other. They all die for RW! It's easy to discern the infantile
narcissism of Wagner's plots. Who else would make a "hero" of that
bloated braggart Siegfried--violent, stupid, grandiose, and
clueless? The standard line amongst Wagnerians who recognise these
failings in the text is that all is redeemed by the music. But in my
view, it's in the music that one finds the most intense and
indefensible moral corruption, all the more repulsive because of its
cleverness.
NJ Levitt, New York, NY
Wagner's thought is self indulgent tripe. I regard his stories as
akin to Walt Disney (not that I am against Disney).
But his harmonies and orchestrations are to die for.
So i love the music when the mood takes me, and more or less ignore
the words if my mood so inclines, as Anton Bruckner the great
Austrian symphonist (died 1896) did.
But why cannot Wagner be ignored? I will ignore him if i want to. He
is just a composer, no more no less. There are greater things than
culture
As for Wagner's moral legacy, there are for more important things to
worry about. Let Puritans think a love of Wagner's music equals anti
semitism if they need something to keep them warm at nights. Their
attitude is nothing to me
Steve Meikle, Christchurch , NZ
....the hell with all the funny theories....just listen to Wagner
for music...love or hate it.......take what you want...just like you
would do for Sinatra or Elvis.
JOHN AMBROSE, NORTON, OHIO...USA
Any article on Wagner that leaves out an even passing mention of his
decade-long friendship with Nietzsche misses something profoundly
important.
Joseph F. Conte, Uniondale, NY
So very easy to peck out a moral high road on a key board, so very
hard to better his music or approach his output. It it's too
difficult, his morality too stressful, why listen?The off button is
as close as your fingers and you'll be spared all that nasty angst.
Tony Flynn, Gunning, NSW Australia
As they say, 'Trust the art, not the artist.'
Lee Merrick, Newport Beach, CA
The importance of Wagner does NOT lie in his 'reforming spirit' but
in the artistic quality of much, not all, of the music. Much of
absurd size of orchestras, blown-up gestures, muddy harmonies and
false heroics, symphonies and operas that sag under their own
weight... Bad Bruckner, Mahler and Strauss can be traced back to bad
Wagner. As for psychological depth: Mozart has it all as well, and
leaving the theatre after a Mozart opera gives the feeling of having
drunk champagne, after Wagner it is mostly exhaustion and feeling
drugged and elevated in the same time. Wagner, often misjudging
scale and balance, was an insecure artist, hence the enormous
lengths and too much talking & explaining in the texts, and the
sudden absence of inspiration over long stretches, and great music
in other episodes. It is an uneven art, but the best bits touch the
sublime. And Tristan was followed by Meistersinger: hysteria by
classicism.
John Borstlap, Amsterdam, Netherlands
I doubt very much that Hitler or the Nazi Party understood Wagner
very well at all but merely plagarised this great music to suit
their own flawed ideology. It is well known that Hitler loved Jewish
music in private. It is very wrong to associate Wagner with Hitler
and the Nazis. Richard Wagner was not alive during the Nazi period.
It is also wrong to hate Wagner for being an anti-semite without at
first understanding him and the times in which he lived. Wagner was
extremely paranoid, perhaps even bi-polar. The words "conspiracy"
and "Jewish" are frequently found together, especially when it comes
to matters of money, which Wagner could not manage at all. He was
always in debt, lived well beyond his means for much of his life,
and "borrowed" as much and as often as he could from friends and
patrons. It is testament to the greatness and purity of his music
that we find Wagner's flawed personality so hard to reconcile with.
Wagner's music will last forever and we are all in his debt.
John Harper, Oxford, United Kingdom
Very fine article and an excellent introduction to Wagner. I would
only add what is often overlooked: that at the base of all the ideas
and achievements lies one of the greatest melodists who ever lived,
a pure composer who rivals Bach, Mozart and Beethoven in the ability
to create wonderful musical themes and variations. Without, this,
the rest of his achievement would be forgotten.
Charles Zigmund, Pleasantville, NY
Wagner musical thinking is philosophcial among all music poetry.
Juan Carlos Rico Diaz, Mexico City, Mexico
"If it sounds good, it is good" - Duke Ellington
"Wagner's music is better than it sounds" - Mark Twain
I agree with Ellington. Wagner has become a cult. The music is most
dull, plodding, and a waste of time.
Amos N, Lenox,
Great article! Only the mighty influence of Wagner could have led
the fawning Bruckner ( the symphonic Wagnerite) to compose one of
the greatest Adagios (for his celestial Seventh Symphony) ever to be
heard. Those Wagnerian tubas intoning the opening phrase lead the
listener later to peaks of spiritual ecstasy and sublimity. It's
unfortunate that Wagner's music was hijacked by the Nazis for their
own ends. But as Edward Said wrote in his essay on Wagner in the
aftermath of Dniel Barenboim's performance of an extract from
Tristan in Israel for which the maestro received official flak, "How
many poets, writers, musicians, painters would there be left if
their art were judged by their moral behavior? And who's to decide
what level of turpitude can be tolerated in the production of any
given artist?...This is not to say that artists shouldn't be morally
judged for their immorality or evil practices; but that an artist's
work cannot be judged solely on those grounds and banned
accordingly."
SD Goh, PJ, Malaysia
Very interesting article. The problem I have always had with
Wagner's music is that it takes him an hour to say something in his
music that Beethovan can say more clearly in five minutes. Now that
is genius.
David Morris, Hay on Wye, Powys
The heroes are tall, blonde and noble. The villains are short, ,
quirky and apparently bent on destruction. And the man who wrote the
stuff thought Jews were the agents of destruction. Just how hard
does one have to work to join those dots up?
As to the artistic merits of this dubious fare, Debussy had it
right. When a Wagnerite said to him "There are some divine moments
in Wagner", he responded :"Yes and some pretty turgid half hours as
well!"
ian morrison, Auckland , New Zealand
Hello, Amos N. Lenox. What you really mean is that you are impatient
and probably have a "limited attention span". Mr. Morrison, you can
join up the dots to make them into any picture you like. Yes, Wagner
was an anti-semite, but so were most Europeans of that period and many
still are. An elderly Jewish gentleman once informed me that anti-
semitism means hating the Jews more than is absolutely necessary. I
don't think Wagner went quite that far, despite the nonsense in his
own pamphlets. Actually, I don't know why I waste my time writing this
because the Wagner debate will never be resolved. Suffice to say that
I agree with Mr. Garry Humphreys of London.

Otto Seifert. (Formerly of Dresden)
Allen
2007-08-16 00:19:58 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Otto Seifert
http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/mus...
[Linked by Arts & Letters Daily.]
7.8.5
His operas sell out immediately. His theories changed classical music. His
artistic legacy still divides his warring family. Millions either love him
obsessively or hate him passionately
Richard Wagner - or, rather, the Wagner dynasty - is in the news
again, with intrigue about who in the family will inherit the
directorship of the 131-year-old Bayreuth festival, created by the
composer in the theatre built specifically for the performance of
his work. Wagner occupies music and opera lovers as no other
composer does. Some unequivocally worship him, their trips to
Bayreuth akin to pilgrimages. Others revile him. Many can do both at
once, separating Wagner the composer from Wagner the self-obsessive,
a man who, though often penniless, lavishly spent others'
(particularly the adoring Ludwig II of Bavaria's) money, who freely
exercised his considerable libido, who demanded adoration and who
held some highly suspect views, on, for instance, Judaism. The music
itself requires much of us: endless uncomfortable hours in the opera
house, with outrageous demands upon not only time but concentration.
Many meekly enter his world on his terms - and gasp in amazement.
What makes this man and his work so important is, essentially, his
reforming spirit. He wanted to purify opera, to return to something
like the concept envisaged by its creators in the late 16th century,
one aimed at resurrecting the principles of Greek drama. So, he
dispensed with "number opera", with its distinct arias, ensembles,
choruses and recitatives, and came up instead with something
labelled the Ges-amtkunstwerk, the "total art work". In the
Gesamtkunstwerk, everything - orchestra, singers, scenery, acting;
even, ideally, the theatre itself - was a vital, inseparable part of
the whole. In this way, Wagner was able to express complex
psychologies. His was not the all-action opera of the French and
Italians, but an internal drama. It was a big idea, one that,
despite the limitations of the literal interpretations that were the
order of his day, has given today's interventionist directors huge
opportunities. A Ring production can have a Marxist leaning, since
one message of the opera allies itself to Proudhon's assertion that
property is theft. It can be inspired by the nihilism of
Schopen-hauer, since all comes to naught. Or it can be
psychoanalytical, a Jungian examination of the mind. And so on.
Fertile ground for continuing controversy.
The music is unique both in its epic scale and in its sound world,
structured in vast paragraphs and unified through the device of the
leitmotif, a snippet of music - a chord, a phrase - that signifies
thought, character, mood or symbol. These snippets may not be
consciously recognised and labelled, but their presence and
interreaction subliminally convey meaning and nuance. Wagner's role
in the evolution of music is crucial. His mature language is a
rich-textured, multi-layered sound, full of detail but never
confused. He uses a large orchestra, not just for its brute force,
but for the range of colours it offers. And he pushes the bounds of
tonality to the limit. Undoubtedly, the most talked-about chord in
all music is the so-called "Tristan chord", from Tristan und Isolde.
Isolated, it doesn't seem to be alluding to any key. And when Wagner
resolves it, he lands on another chord that leaves the music
lingering, suggesting longing, or maybe ecstasy, or maybe death
prolonged. It is just a small step from here to the atonal world of
Arnold Schoenberg and others.
Indeed, without Wagner, there would have been no Schoenberg, no
Richard Strauss, no Gustav Mahler - not, anyway, as we know them.
Debussy, for all his railings against Wagner, took on the German
composer's idea of opera as an integrated art form and a window onto
the innermost psyche in Pelléas et Mélisande.
So, Wagner opera remains in heavy demand whenever it's in town,
which is often. Keith Warner's finally complete production of The
Ring at Covent Garden, to be staged three times this autumn, is so
oversubscribed that patrons are being sold tickets for the
rehearsals. At Bayreuth, the waiting list for a ticket stretches
back 10 years. People return to Wagner again and again, not simply
to see yet another production or to hear a particular singer, but
because they know that even if it's the wrong singer for them and
the 10th time they have seen the staging, they can be pretty sure
another layer will reveal itself, another thought stirred.
What about those uncomfortable connections with the Nazis, though?
Wagner, it is true, was more or less adopted as the quintessential
Nazi composer in the early 1930s. Hitler adored his music. But that
was hardly the long-dead composer's fault. Another problem was that
Winifred, the British-born wife of Wagner's homosexual son,
Siegfried, was close to the Führer. In 1933, it was even rumoured
that the pair were to marry. This relationship is fascinatingly
charted in Jonathan Carr's forthcoming book The Wagner Clan, and, in
a rather different way, in AN Wilson's quasi-historical new novel,
Winnie and Wolf.
Winifred inherited the directorship at Bayreuth on her husband's
death, and thereafter Hitler began subsidising Bayreuth's coffers
more generously even than Ludwig II had done. Bayreuth in turn
mounted productions of Die Meistersinger that became ever more
tub-thumping celebrations of the glorious fatherland. The
institution was "Nazified". DeNazification was attempted after the
war, by replacing Winifred with her sons, Wieland and Wolfgang.
Despite radicalisation of production styles, it has proved hard to
rid Bayreuth of every trace of bad odour as long as it has remained
in family hands.
There is no question, of course, that Wagner was resolutely
antisemitic, becoming more so as he grew older. But how much that
had to do with pure prejudice and how much it was down to his
resentment that the Jewish composers Meyerbeer and Mendel-ssohn held
artistic sway in Paris and Germany at times when Wagner was eager to
make a name for himself in those places is debatable. Certainly, in
his notorious 1850 essay Judaism in Music (penned under a
pseudonym), he is ready to characterise all Jewish music, and the
music of these two men in particular, as superficial. That was an
unfair judgment, particularly upon Men-delssohn. But whether he
believed also that the only solution to perceived Jewish economic
and political dominance was their physical annihilation is another
matter. He was, after all, a libertarian revolutionary, forced to
flee Dresden in the suppressed 1849 uprising there, and he numbered
many Jews among his friends. But the Jewish issue is not one to be
belittled, and it is an aspect of Wagner that has guaranteed he will
remain for ever a talking point.
Indeed, Wagner's antisemitism and his association with the Nazis -
or, rather, their association with him - still means that there are
many who cannot bear to hear his music. Until fairly recently, it
was impossible to encounter it in the state of Israel, until that
great Wagnerian Daniel Barenboim decided to throw his considerable
moral weight behind the matter. And as that devout Wagnerian Michael
Portillo pertinently asked in a New Statesman article a couple of
years ago, why is it that a love of Wagner is so often taken to
signal right-wing, antisemitic tendencies when a love of Richard
Strauss, at least on occasion a Nazi sympathiser, signals only the
height of good taste?
Love the music or not, Wagner cannot be ignored. Larger than life in
his own lifetime, posthumously he gets no smaller. The Bayreuth
feuding might be what's in the news, but it's the art that
perpetuates the reputation. And whether it's young Katharina Wagner
who takes the reins of the family business, or her half-sister Eva,
or indeed her cousin Nike, one cannot change the reason for or the
importance of Bayreuth's existence.
* Have your say
There is no doubt that Wagner's innovative music is galvanising and
profound.
The part of the deal that causes outrage is the staging. I greatly
prefer live concert performances of Wagner. I still treasure the
memory of a concert performance of "Die Walküre" which I attended
many years ago in London.
The awful truth is that when the action is static the unedifying
spectacle of hefty, middle-aged singers heaving about in
inappropriate costumes, often ludicrously supposed to be socially
relevant, reduces the effect of the music and its content to bathos.
On the other hand, the sight of great singers and musicians losing
themselves in the spirit of the music is inspiring.
I recommend the Tolkein Ring movies to those who crave spectacle.
Janet Kenny, Point Vernon, Queensland, Australia
Who on Earth believes that "a love of Richard Strauss ... signals
only the height of good taste"?
As for Wagner's importance, he wrote a few good tunes, and made
important innovations in orchestration and structure, but I (like
most people, I suspect) find him largely dull. Also, as John
Borstlap said below, Wagner initiated the phenomenon of gigantism in
German music - his closest musical descendants would all benefit
from a little more discipline and a little less egoism.
Ford, Sydney,
Has Amos N Lenox ever heard Wagner in the theatre? Thirty years ago
I heard my first 'Ring' cycle at the English National Opera,
conducted by Sir Charles Groves, and was completely hooked - so much
so that at the end of Gotterdammerung I wanted it all to start
again! The sheer momentum of the cycle carried me along and the time
simply flew by! The 'Ring' can do this; 'Meistersinger' is wonderful
music but far too long (for me) ... but different scenarios result
in different music, and the effect on the same individual is bound
to vary.
Garry Humphreys, London, England
In the literary arena, Proust and Dickins certainly lack brevity of
ideas but they are still given their due. Regarding Wagner's tall
blonde heros and short quirky villans, consider his audience. If
Wagner were Italian I'm sure the opposite would be true. Should we
ban Shakespear because of Merchant Of Venice? No. I think too much
is made of an artist's philosophy. You can't fault the artists for
their fans.
Rich Hill, Prospect Park, PA/USA
Wagner's music is often brilliant. Wagner himself was an
overbearing, egotistical, immoral man. Then, after his death, he had
the misfortune of becoming Hitler's favorite composer.
His music was used beautifully in the Movie, Excalibur--probably the
best low-budget movie ever. Wagner's music actually works better in
film than in opera, where it can enter the artistic milieu at
crucial moments, then fade out. The problem with his operas is that
the moments of brilliance are separated by long periods of just
average stuff.
Given the terrible history of Nazism, I can understand why many
cannot appreciate Wagner. More often than not, great artists are
also terrible human beings--it seems to go with the territory. Also,
an appreciation of great art does not (contrary to popular belief)
make a person good or moral. Hitler not only loved Wagner, but also
(recent news stories revealed this) had a secret stash of well-used
records of Tchaikovsky, Borodin, and other Slavic composers.
Paul Weber, GILBERT, USA/Arizona
And Leni Rieffensthal just made a movie. So like what's the big
deal, right?
starry de cysis, Mountainview,
So NJ Levitt thinks "On that view, the cumulative effect of Wagner's
music, especially his most mature work, is to reveal a shriveled and
rather nasty persona unable to see his way past self pity." He's
right, of course, about Siegfried; try as I might, I find him very
hard to like. No matter how mistreated and ill-raised, I still would
not care to associate with him.
But unable to see his way past self-pity? Spend six hours with Die
Meistersinger, and reflect what a mature Wagner through Sachs looks
to say. The revolutionary of 1849 has been replaced by a wiser man
more willing to see where others are correct, not hating of his
enemies, and eager to guide and assist that "angry young man" to a
better art. The text of the Ring was written by that young
revolutionary, but Meistersinger is the mature Wagner. I don't see
the self-pity.
Tom Schmidt, Brooklyn, New York
Someone here said, "It is well known that Hitler loved Jewish music
in private."
Not so. That's a meme spreading from the article earlier this week
revealing that Adolf's large record collection included a
Tchaikovsky concerto that happened to be performed by a Jewish
violinist, and two Beethoven sonatas that happened to be performed
by a Jewish pianist. That is not "loving Jewish music in private."
In fact, Hitler hated Jewish composers and banned and exiled a
significant number of them. Several of them he had murdered in the
camps. Keep the record straight.
(Also remember Wagner died 50 years before the Nazis ever came to
power. Guilt by association is bad enough. Back-dating it is
stupid.)
David Johns, Seymour, USA/TN
I'm one of those dreadfully old-fashioned folk who believe that an
artist with a powerful talent, as Wagner assuredly was, creates a
body of work whose main revelation, when all is said, is the
character--the soul, to be even more old-fashioned--of the creator.
On that view, the cumulative effect of Wagner's music, especially
his most mature work, is to reveal a shriveled and rather nasty
persona unable to see his way past self pity. Brunhilde doesn't die
for love of Siegfried, nor Tristan and Isolde for love of each
other. They all die for RW! It's easy to discern the infantile
narcissism of Wagner's plots. Who else would make a "hero" of that
bloated braggart Siegfried--violent, stupid, grandiose, and
clueless? The standard line amongst Wagnerians who recognise these
failings in the text is that all is redeemed by the music. But in my
view, it's in the music that one finds the most intense and
indefensible moral corruption, all the more repulsive because of its
cleverness.
NJ Levitt, New York, NY
Wagner's thought is self indulgent tripe. I regard his stories as
akin to Walt Disney (not that I am against Disney).
But his harmonies and orchestrations are to die for.
So i love the music when the mood takes me, and more or less ignore
the words if my mood so inclines, as Anton Bruckner the great
Austrian symphonist (died 1896) did.
But why cannot Wagner be ignored? I will ignore him if i want to. He
is just a composer, no more no less. There are greater things than
culture
As for Wagner's moral legacy, there are for more important things to
worry about. Let Puritans think a love of Wagner's music equals anti
semitism if they need something to keep them warm at nights. Their
attitude is nothing to me
Steve Meikle, Christchurch , NZ
....the hell with all the funny theories....just listen to Wagner
for music...love or hate it.......take what you want...just like you
would do for Sinatra or Elvis.
JOHN AMBROSE, NORTON, OHIO...USA
Any article on Wagner that leaves out an even passing mention of his
decade-long friendship with Nietzsche misses something profoundly
important.
Joseph F. Conte, Uniondale, NY
So very easy to peck out a moral high road on a key board, so very
hard to better his music or approach his output. It it's too
difficult, his morality too stressful, why listen?The off button is
as close as your fingers and you'll be spared all that nasty angst.
Tony Flynn, Gunning, NSW Australia
As they say, 'Trust the art, not the artist.'
Lee Merrick, Newport Beach, CA
The importance of Wagner does NOT lie in his 'reforming spirit' but
in the artistic quality of much, not all, of the music. Much of
absurd size of orchestras, blown-up gestures, muddy harmonies and
false heroics, symphonies and operas that sag under their own
weight... Bad Bruckner, Mahler and Strauss can be traced back to bad
Wagner. As for psychological depth: Mozart has it all as well, and
leaving the theatre after a Mozart opera gives the feeling of having
drunk champagne, after Wagner it is mostly exhaustion and feeling
drugged and elevated in the same time. Wagner, often misjudging
scale and balance, was an insecure artist, hence the enormous
lengths and too much talking & explaining in the texts, and the
sudden absence of inspiration over long stretches, and great music
in other episodes. It is an uneven art, but the best bits touch the
sublime. And Tristan was followed by Meistersinger: hysteria by
classicism.
John Borstlap, Amsterdam, Netherlands
I doubt very much that Hitler or the Nazi Party understood Wagner
very well at all but merely plagarised this great music to suit
their own flawed ideology. It is well known that Hitler loved Jewish
music in private. It is very wrong to associate Wagner with Hitler
and the Nazis. Richard Wagner was not alive during the Nazi period.
It is also wrong to hate Wagner for being an anti-semite without at
first understanding him and the times in which he lived. Wagner was
extremely paranoid, perhaps even bi-polar. The words "conspiracy"
and "Jewish" are frequently found together, especially when it comes
to matters of money, which Wagner could not manage at all. He was
always in debt, lived well beyond his means for much of his life,
and "borrowed" as much and as often as he could from friends and
patrons. It is testament to the greatness and purity of his music
that we find Wagner's flawed personality so hard to reconcile with.
Wagner's music will last forever and we are all in his debt.
John Harper, Oxford, United Kingdom
Very fine article and an excellent introduction to Wagner. I would
only add what is often overlooked: that at the base of all the ideas
and achievements lies one of the greatest melodists who ever lived,
a pure composer who rivals Bach, Mozart and Beethoven in the ability
to create wonderful musical themes and variations. Without, this,
the rest of his achievement would be forgotten.
Charles Zigmund, Pleasantville, NY
Wagner musical thinking is philosophcial among all music poetry.
Juan Carlos Rico Diaz, Mexico City, Mexico
"If it sounds good, it is good" - Duke Ellington
"Wagner's music is better than it sounds" - Mark Twain
I agree with Ellington. Wagner has become a cult. The music is most
dull, plodding, and a waste of time.
Amos N, Lenox,
Great article! Only the mighty influence of Wagner could have led
the fawning Bruckner ( the symphonic Wagnerite) to compose one of
the greatest Adagios (for his celestial Seventh Symphony) ever to be
heard. Those Wagnerian tubas intoning the opening phrase lead the
listener later to peaks of spiritual ecstasy and sublimity. It's
unfortunate that Wagner's music was hijacked by the Nazis for their
own ends. But as Edward Said wrote in his essay on Wagner in the
aftermath of Dniel Barenboim's performance of an extract from
Tristan in Israel for which the maestro received official flak, "How
many poets, writers, musicians, painters would there be left if
their art were judged by their moral behavior? And who's to decide
what level of turpitude can be tolerated in the production of any
given artist?...This is not to say that artists shouldn't be morally
judged for their immorality or evil practices; but that an artist's
work cannot be judged solely on those grounds and banned
accordingly."
SD Goh, PJ, Malaysia
Very interesting article. The problem I have always had with
Wagner's music is that it takes him an hour to say something in his
music that Beethovan can say more clearly in five minutes. Now that
is genius.
David Morris, Hay on Wye, Powys
The heroes are tall, blonde and noble. The villains are short, ,
quirky and apparently bent on destruction. And the man who wrote the
stuff thought Jews were the agents of destruction. Just how hard
does one have to work to join those dots up?
As to the artistic merits of this dubious fare, Debussy had it
right. When a Wagnerite said to him "There are some divine moments
in Wagner", he responded :"Yes and some pretty turgid half hours as
well!"
ian morrison, Auckland , New Zealand
Hello, Amos N. Lenox. What you really mean is that you are impatient
and probably have a "limited attention span". Mr. Morrison, you can
join up the dots to make them into any picture you like. Yes, Wagner
was an anti-semite, but so were most Europeans of that period and many
still are. An elderly Jewish gentleman once informed me that anti-
semitism means hating the Jews more than is absolutely necessary. I
don't think Wagner went quite that far, despite the nonsense in his
own pamphlets. Actually, I don't know why I waste my time writing this
because the Wagner debate will never be resolved. Suffice to say that
I agree with Mr. Garry Humphreys of London.
Otto Seifert. (Formerly of Dresden)
As far as I know, that is the first day that "Otto Seifert" or whatever
his real name might be has posted here. I suspect that he has already
surpassed Gabriel Parra's previous record for going into most killfiles
in his/her first 24-hour period.
Allen
Matthew B. Tepper
2007-08-16 02:34:20 UTC
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Post by Allen
As far as I know, that is the first day that "Otto Seifert" or whatever
his real name might be has posted here. I suspect that he has already
surpassed Gabriel Parra's previous record for going into most killfiles
in his/her first 24-hour period.
Then what do you suggest one do about a poster who quotes the entirety of a
400+ line post in order to append four lines of comment at the end?
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page -- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page --- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Tom Deacon is a liar and a scoundrel who cannot hold on to a job.
Allen
2007-08-16 13:41:28 UTC
Reply
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Post by Matthew B. Tepper
Post by Allen
As far as I know, that is the first day that "Otto Seifert" or whatever
his real name might be has posted here. I suspect that he has already
surpassed Gabriel Parra's previous record for going into most killfiles
in his/her first 24-hour period.
Then what do you suggest one do about a poster who quotes the entirety of a
400+ line post in order to append four lines of comment at the end?
Sorry about that! Mea culpa. Thinking box apparently was turned off in
my head.
Allen
Matthew B. Tepper
2007-08-16 14:31:31 UTC
Reply
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Post by Allen
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
Post by Allen
As far as I know, that is the first day that "Otto Seifert" or
whatever his real name might be has posted here. I suspect that he has
already surpassed Gabriel Parra's previous record for going into most
killfiles in his/her first 24-hour period.
Then what do you suggest one do about a poster who quotes the entirety
of a 400+ line post in order to append four lines of comment at the
end?
Sorry about that! Mea culpa. Thinking box apparently was turned off in
my head.
Fortunately, it's easy to turn on again. ;--)
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page -- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page --- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Tom Deacon is a liar and a scoundrel who cannot hold on to a job.
John Wiser
2007-08-16 19:18:51 UTC
Reply
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Post by Matthew B. Tepper
Post by Allen
As far as I know, that is the first day that "Otto Seifert" or whatever
his real name might be has posted here. I suspect that he has already
surpassed Gabriel Parra's previous record for going into most killfiles
in his/her first 24-hour period.
Then what do you suggest one do about a poster who quotes the entirety of a
400+ line post in order to append four lines of comment at the end?
Or Don Tait's repeated one-liners appended to 800
lines of Frank Forman's Premise Checkers quoted blather. ]
Never accuse the Tepperhund of objectivity...or honesty.

JDW
g***@gmail.com
2020-10-12 21:08:35 UTC
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Post by Premise Checker
http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/article2181464.ece
[Linked by Arts & Letters Daily.]
7.8.5
His operas sell out immediately. His theories changed classical music. His
artistic legacy still divides his warring family. Millions either love him
obsessively or hate him passionately
Richard Wagner - or, rather, the Wagner dynasty - is in the news
again, with intrigue about who in the family will inherit the
directorship of the 131-year-old Bayreuth festival, created by the
composer in the theatre built specifically for the performance of
his work. Wagner occupies music and opera lovers as no other
composer does. Some unequivocally worship him, their trips to
Bayreuth akin to pilgrimages. Others revile him. Many can do both at
once, separating Wagner the composer from Wagner the self-obsessive,
a man who, though often penniless, lavishly spent others'
(particularly the adoring Ludwig II of Bavaria's) money, who freely
exercised his considerable libido, who demanded adoration and who
held some highly suspect views, on, for instance, Judaism. The music
itself requires much of us: endless uncomfortable hours in the opera
house, with outrageous demands upon not only time but concentration.
Many meekly enter his world on his terms - and gasp in amazement.
What makes this man and his work so important is, essentially, his
reforming spirit. He wanted to purify opera, to return to something
like the concept envisaged by its creators in the late 16th century,
one aimed at resurrecting the principles of Greek drama. So, he
dispensed with "number opera", with its distinct arias, ensembles,
choruses and recitatives, and came up instead with something
labelled the Ges-amtkunstwerk, the "total art work". In the
Gesamtkunstwerk, everything - orchestra, singers, scenery, acting;
even, ideally, the theatre itself - was a vital, inseparable part of
the whole. In this way, Wagner was able to express complex
psychologies. His was not the all-action opera of the French and
Italians, but an internal drama. It was a big idea, one that,
despite the limitations of the literal interpretations that were the
order of his day, has given today's interventionist directors huge
opportunities. A Ring production can have a Marxist leaning, since
one message of the opera allies itself to Proudhon's assertion that
property is theft. It can be inspired by the nihilism of
Schopen-hauer, since all comes to naught. Or it can be
psychoanalytical, a Jungian examination of the mind. And so on.
Fertile ground for continuing controversy.
The music is unique both in its epic scale and in its sound world,
structured in vast paragraphs and unified through the device of the
leitmotif, a snippet of music - a chord, a phrase - that signifies
thought, character, mood or symbol. These snippets may not be
consciously recognised and labelled, but their presence and
interreaction subliminally convey meaning and nuance. Wagner's role
in the evolution of music is crucial. His mature language is a
rich-textured, multi-layered sound, full of detail but never
confused. He uses a large orchestra, not just for its brute force,
but for the range of colours it offers. And he pushes the bounds of
tonality to the limit. Undoubtedly, the most talked-about chord in
all music is the so-called "Tristan chord", from Tristan und Isolde.
Isolated, it doesn't seem to be alluding to any key. And when Wagner
resolves it, he lands on another chord that leaves the music
lingering, suggesting longing, or maybe ecstasy, or maybe death
prolonged. It is just a small step from here to the atonal world of
Arnold Schoenberg and others.
Indeed, without Wagner, there would have been no Schoenberg, no
Richard Strauss, no Gustav Mahler - not, anyway, as we know them.
Debussy, for all his railings against Wagner, took on the German
composer's idea of opera as an integrated art form and a window onto
the innermost psyche in Pelléas et Mélisande...
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/humanities.music.composers.wagner/2I26JP551Ug
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