Whilst no one would dispute Richard Wagner's ranking amongst the most significant composers in the history of Western music, his works have been more fiercely attacked than any other composer's. A racist, womaniser, megalomaniac and anti-Semite, Wagner's personal "defects" have provoked intense hostility which has translated into a mistrust and abhorrence of his music. This work discusses why people feel so passionately about Wagner. It lays out the various arguments made by Wagner's detractors and admirers, and challenges most of them. By giving unconventional analyses of many of Wagner's best-known works it aims to encourage readers to see many of his works afresh.
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"Tanner belongs in [the] tiny but distinguished company of committed Wagnerians who write extraordinarily well . . . His observations are consistently fresh and provocative, often as witty as they are arresting . . . . His short book is a joy to read and worth dozens of longer ones." --G. W. Bowersock, Opera News
"Focused and concise. . . . [A] wonderfully open-minded book." --Rupert Christiansen, Sunday Telegraph
"[A] quietly magnificent study of one of the most controversial figures in modern music." --Virginia Quarterly Review
"The most spirited and unapologetic book about Wagner to appear in a long time. . . . Fine, intellectually sparkling, and always engaging. . . . A welcome addition to any Wagner library." --Wagner Notes
"[Tanner] provides a valuable study of the meaning and significance of Richard Wagner's music dramas. . . . Tanner leads the reader to understand Wagner's lifelong preoccupations, the common threads and themes that underlie his production." --Choice
Whilst no one would dispute Wagner's ranking among the most significant composers in the history of Western music, his works have been more fiercely attacked than those of any other composer. His supposed personal defects have provoked intense hostility which has translated into a mistrust and abhorrence of his music. In his emphatic, lucid book Michael Tanner discusses why people feel so passionately for or against Wagner, in a way that they don't about other great artists. He lays out the arguments of Wagner's detractors and admirers, and challenges most of them. Tanner's fascination for the relationship between music, text and plot generates an illuminating discussion of the operas, in which he persuades us to see many of Wagner's best-known works afresh. His passionate and unconventional analyses are accessible to all lovers of music, be they listeners or performers.
"Focused and concise… wonderfully open-minded."
RUPERT CHRISTENSEN,' Sunday Telegraph'
"Almost as good as a ticket to Bayreuth."
STEPHEN MOSS, 'Guardian' Books of the Year
"A fine, intellectually sparking and always engaging little book – a welcome addition to any Wagner library."
HANS VAGET, 'Opera Quarterly'
"Though volumes have been written about the composer, Michael Tanner’s 'Wagner' breaks new ground."
ANTHONY O'HEAR, 'Daily Express'
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Book Description Flamingo, 1997. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0006862128