Classical Music Talk

December 22, 2009

Richard Wagner –

Filed under: Uncategorized — classicalconnect @ 12:01 pm
Richard Wagner


Richard Wagner moved to Bayreuth on April 24, 1872. . On April 27 1872 R. Wagner provisionally moved to the “Fantaisie” of Donndorf (4 km west of the common Bayreuth), not far from the castle “Fantaisie”. By the end of sept.1872 Wagner family moved in Bayreuth. Here began his penultimate opera “Götterdämmerung” (Twilight of the Gods “), completed in the “Haus Wahnfried “, a house where he moved in autumn 1874.

“Twilight of the Gods” has concluded – after 26 years – the tetralogy “The Ring of Nibelungs”. In Bayreuth he composed and last work of his life, “Parsifal”. He died in Venice (in Vendradim Palace), on February 13, 1883 at the age of 70 years following a heart disease. His wife Cosima (daughter of composer Franz Liszt) took over after her husband’s leadership of Wagner Festival and survived 47 years. They had 3 children: Isolde (1865-1919), Eva (1867-1942, married H.S.Chamberlain) and Siegfried (1869-1930, married Winifred Williams Klindworth).
The reasons that compelled Richard Wagner to choose Bayreuth as city of residence were:
• the city was located in Bavaria, the country of his patron, the Bavarian King Ludwig II (1845-1886), to which he felt deeply indebted.
• Bayreuth was geographically located in the heart of the German Empire, relatively easily accessible from all directions.
• The City has an opera house (slightly used), in which he hopes to present his works exclusively.

• There were no other theaters in town that would be competitive (not admitted – of pride – competition).
• Massif in the vicinity -Fichtelgebirge, the legendary cradle of German ethnic groups.
Richard Wagner Festspielhaus (festival theatre) in Bayreuth
The writings of Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche, and change of his social condition as a favorite of King Ludwig II of Bavaria made him to join the nationalist pan-Germanic ideas. His ideas are contained in numerous essays on music, theater, politics and religion as Kunst und Revolution (“Art and Revolution “, 1848), Das Kunstwerke der Zukunft (“The artwork of the future”, 1850), Oper und Drama (“Opera and Drama “, 1851). Wagner was considered a religious pontiff artist rooted in German culture, inspired by old Nordic legends, with heroic characters that move us in a supernatural world. The art, gravitating around the musical drama, had to lead those national operators. They stated that the Germans had for the ancient the Greeks. Wagner music drama entertainment is based on a sacred action, allegory of inner drama, by indissoluble unity of the text, written by Wagner himself for most of his creations,  Wagner introduces the innovative “endless melody” and  “das Leitmotiv”, suggestion and evocation of the symbolic process of psychological issues, of key moments in the dramatically  pursuit. Piano music was also very important for him.

This concept found its embodiment in his monumental tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring Nibelungs), composed of the  works Das Rheingold (” Die Walkure “, 1854), Die Walküre (Walkiria, 1856), Siegfried (1870) and Götterdämmerung (“Twilight of the gods”, 1874), which configures, in a world of heroes and myths, a primitive violence of the conflict between human and spiritual nature. The exceptional quality of Wagner’s art is reflected in his masterpieces Tristan und Isolde (1859), the triumph of love over death, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (1867), Parsifal (1882), which reproduces the legend of the “Holy Grail”, the dramatic struggle with feelings of devotion. Even his piano music was influenced by “das Leitmotiv”.
Wagner creation had an overwhelming influence on the subsequent evolution of music. Composers as Anton Bruckner, Gustav Mahler, Claude Debussy (at the beginning), Arnold Schönberg, and Richard Strauss have developed their creation under the strong influence of Richard Wagner’s music.


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