BEING WAGNER: The Triumph of the Will

BEING WAGNER: The Triumph of the Will

SIMON CALLOW    Book Number: 85652    Product format: Hardback

Described in The Times as 'not simply a terrific actor who happens to write - you could as well call him a terrific writer who happens to act", Simon Callow plunges the reader headlong into Richard Wagner's world, examining the intellectual and artistic climate in which he composed and wrote. Wagner was a composer like no other who lived: he was extreme in everything, creator of perhaps the most sublime and most troubling body of work in the history of music. 140 years after his death, Wagner's music dramas stand at the centre of the culture of classical music, never more popular nor so violently controversial and divisive. Aggressive, flirtatious, disciplined, capricious, visionary and poisonously anti-Semitic, his ten mature masterpieces constitute an unmatched body of work created against a backdrop of poverty, revolution, violent controversy, critical contempt and hysterical hero worship. Desperately poor in his early 50s after a life of heroic productivity, Wagner had four major operas unperformed when as if in a fairy-tale he was rescued by a beautiful young king with limitless wealth. When one of those operas Tristan and Isolde was at last performed, it revolutionised classical music at a stroke. Wagner went on to create The Ring of the Nibelung, a vast epic in four massive segments ushering gods and dwarves, heroes and villains, dragons and rainbows onto the stage. He had to train a generation of singers and players to perform it and erected a custom-built theatre to house it. Wagner died exhausted after creating one final piece, Parsifal, that seems to point to an even more radical new future for music. 232pp, illus.
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ISBN 9780008105693
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