Die Komplette Wagner - Einführung



Richard Wagner
Arno Breker
Wagner und Fafner
Richard Wagner was an exceptionally controversial German composer who lived from 1813 to 1883.
Wagner's lifelong dream was to combine all facets of art, literature, and music into one masterpiece.
More than just a composer Wagner was also a polemic, with extreme ideas on all ideas ranging from art to religion.
Richard Wagner's autobiography: 'Mein Leben' runs in excess of 800 pages. 
It is quite likely that no composer in history has written in more detail about his life, his aims and his ambitions, and possibly none has displayed a greater egotism and sureness of his own genius than Richard Wagner!
"I'm not like other people. 1 have finer nerves - I must have beauty and brilliance and light.
The world owes me what 1 need. I can't live on a miserable organist's post, like your master Bach !" he wrote.

Adolf Hitler
Richard Wagner
His anti-semitic ideas, political scandals, and extramarital affairs landed him a reputation as a controversial musician.
In fact, Wagner's personality and ideas have often been compared with those of Adolf Hitler - whom he greatly influenced.
Richard Wagner is undoubtedly one of the leading figures of the 19th century.
Already, in his own time, he was a source of debate and controversy.
When Wagner died in 1883, over 10,000 books and articles were written about him, and the amount of research about him has multiplied since his death
Wagner's music has been equally controversial as the man himself, provoking both lovers and haters of his style.
He was one of the first to use dissonance and chromaticism in his works.
Wagner's reason for using these techniques was to create a desire and yearning for the resolution of the dissonance.
Many musicians theorize that Wagner's music reflects his desire for perfection and peace in his life.
Another of Wagner's important musical developments is that of the "leitmotif".
Wagner coined this expression, which means a theme that is used recurringly throughout a piece.
Bühnenbild - Tristan und Isolde'
Alfred Roller
For example, Wagner would often assign a separate leitmotif to each character in his opera and play it during that character's entrance.
Wagner was a specialist in writing operas and thus his greatest works all fall into this category.
His greatest works include 'Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg' (The Mastersinger of Nuremberg), Tannhäuser, and 'Der fliegende Holländer' (The Flying Dutchman).
Another of Wagner's greatest works is 'Der Ring des Nibelungen' (The Nibelung's Ring) which is a huge 18 hour assemblage of four operas, which are all interrelated.
Perhaps the "Ring operas" are the closest that Wagner ever got to achieving his lifelong dream of combining art, literature, and music.
His greatest - and his last opera, however, is 'Parsifal'.

Das Konzept von Musikdrama

Theodor Mundt
Musikdrama is a German word that means a unity of prose and music.
Initially coined by Theodor Mundt in 1833, it was most notably used by Richard Wagner, along with gesamtkunstwerk, to define his operas.
Theodor Mundt (1808–1861), who coined musikdrama was a German critic and novelist.
He was a member of the 'Young Germany' group of German writers.
Mundt formulated his definition explicitly in contrast to intermezzo, or a piece that sits in between dramatic entities.
To this day, 'musikdrama' is associated with the works of Richard Wagner where poetry, music and stage performances are not arbitrarily combined.
Wagner himself composed the music and libretto, and was a consultant on the stage design and choreography.
This all-encompassing art, or 'gesamtkunstwerk', called on the diegesis of musikdrama in order to further the immersive feel.

Diegesis is a style of fiction storytelling which presents an interior view of a world and is:
that world itself experienced by the characters in situations and events of the narrative
telling, recounting, as opposed to showing, enacting.
In diegesis the narrator tells the story. The narrator presents the actions (and sometimes thoughts) of the characters to the readers or audience.
Diegesis may concern elements, such as characters, events and things within the main or primary narrative. However, the author may include elements which are not intended for the primary narrative, such as stories within stories; characters and events that may be referred to elsewhere or in historical contexts and that are therefore outside the main story and are thus presented in an extradiegetic situation.

Wagner himself resisted calling his works 'musikdrama'. which would imply a drama "meant for music," like a libretto.

Instead he, under the influene of Nietzsche, wanted to put music at the service of the drama, which indeed in its original ancient form was inseparable from music.
Nevertheless, the term music-drama has become accepted.
A major characteristic of 'musikdrama' is its formal unity, without interruptions or smaller closed forms such as arias or duets.
Recurring 'leitmotifs' provide support and interpretation of the text, which progresses as in a spoken drama.
For many people the 'Ring' dominates - but there is much more to Wagner than his 'Ring Cycle'.
While his early works may be of mainly academic interest, 'Tristan und Isolde' and 'Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg' form a glittering frame to the great, four part 'Ring Cycle', with the incomparable 'Parsifal' forming a crowning glory, and pinnacle of Wagner's magnificent and unique achievement.

der krönende Abschluss und Höhepunkt der herrliche und einzigartige Errungenschaft Wagners

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