Wagner

Leading on from a short discussion with my Int2s…

This is a clip featuring the most famous piece by 19th century German dramatist and composer, Richard Wagner.

Wagner redefined the whole art form of opera, and expanded the vocabulary of music with his use of what has become known as the “Tristan chord”. As a piece of trivia, he also wrote the bridal march which is used at hundreds of weddings every year.

Sadly, Wagner was an unpleasant and racist individual. His anti-semitic views were well-known in his own lifetime (when this was, incredibly, social acceptable), but his works became hugely unpopular immediately before, during and for decades after the second world war, when Hitler used Wagner’s music as an example of pure German art, representing his own vision of the German spirit. For many people, Wagner is a musical connection to the atrocities of the Nazi regime.

There has recently been a reappraisal of his musical legacy (click here and follow the links for this full documentary, presented by QI’s Stephen Fry), though it is unlikely that it will ever lose its close connections with Nazism. It is hard to deny, however, that it is powerful, passionate and the work of a brilliant artist.

I have no idea, on the other hand, what this is…

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