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Favorite piece by Wagner?

Discussion in 'Entertainment, Culture, and Sports' started by imageWIS, May 22, 2006.

  1. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    Just to get back to music, I pulled out the Glenn Gould Wagner album last night for some listening. It has a recording of what is simultaneously his conducting debut and his last recording he made before he died, conducting Siegfried Idyll. It's over 24 minutes long! Also on the disc are his performances of his piano transcriptions of Siegfried Idyll (only a bit over 23 minutes in this case), Der Meistersinger von Nurnberg, Act 1 Prelude (in which he overdubbed himself to get all the lines in that he thought should be in there), and Gotterdammerung Dawn and Siegfried's Rhine Journey. Also if anyone's a Ring fan, the Kirov are having a two-week festival in Orange County this October where they'll be doing the complete Ring cycle, as well as a couple of Russian operas, concerts, and ballet performances. I'll be there only for the ballet stuff at the end, but if you're interested in the other stuff, check out: http://www.ocpac.org --Andre
     
  2. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    What happened to Apocalypse Now in Israel. Could the film not be shown or was the sound track changed?
    Can you show Un Chien Andalou?

    Is Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf still forbidden?
     
  3. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

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    Just to get back to music, I pulled out the Glenn Gould Wagner album last night for some listening. It has a recording of what is simultaneously his conducting debut and his last recording he made before he died, conducting Siegfried Idyll. It's over 24 minutes long! Also on the disc are his performances of his piano transcriptions of Siegfried Idyll (only a bit over 23 minutes in this case), Der Meistersinger von Nurnberg, Act 1 Prelude (in which he overdubbed himself to get all the lines in that he thought should be in there), and Gotterdammerung Dawn and Siegfried's Rhine Journey.


    --Andre


    I have a copy of that piano recording...its nice, but the music is simply not the same without an orchestra.

    Jon.
     
  4. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    What happened to Apocalypse Now in Israel. Could the film not be shown or was the sound track changed?
    Can you show Un Chien Andalou?

    Is Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf still forbidden?



    BS - listen, dude, if we are going to have a discussion, please do me the curtesy of reading my posts.

    as said, several times previously, the "ban" on Wagner in Israel consists of the decision by the 3 main synphany orchestras, the main music festival and the opera house not to play Wagner. the half dozen smaller municipal orchestras, the university orchestras, the smaller opera group, and the thousands of other situations where classical music is played do not impose on themselves such limitations. as such - unless somebody wanted, for some strange reason, to play Apacolypse Now in the National Opera house, this would not be a consideration.
     
  5. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    holy shit I had no idea. I stand corrected. That's sick.


    V, it is nice to have such strong opinions on things. it works better when one reads the thread before jumping in.
     
  6. metaphysician

    metaphysician Senior member

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    I think a couple of things have been missed in this thread.

    First, Barenboim's decision to play Wagner was not an arrangement of any kind with the concert organizers - as he noted in his Reith Lectures on the BBC, it was an unscheduled encore and he asked the audience if it was okay to play Wagner, and some left. That is fine, and Barenboim himself echoed many of the same sentiments expressed on this thread - namely, that Wagner's music is so closely tied to the Holocaust because of when it was played, and Barenboim fully agrees with the idea that Holocaust survivors should not be subjected to listening to Wagner if it is associated with the Holocaust; Barenboim goes as far to say that they should not have to listen to any music that reminds them of the genocide.

    Which is partially why I think the unofficial Wagner ban may seem problematic at first - Wagner was far, far from the only composer to be employed by the Nazis. Yes, Bayreuth was transformed into a Nazi festival during Hitler's rule, and Hitler was close with Winifred Wagner; however, not the Ring, nor Parsifal, nor Tristan was Hitler's favorite piece of music - Beethoven's Ninth was, even though Beethoven wrote it to be an expression of brotherhood and joy, as when the tenor exclaims in the fourth movement:

    O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!
    Sondern laßt uns angenehmere
    anstimmen und freudenvollere.
    Freude! Freude!

    Similarly, Wagner was far from the only composer whose music was played in concentration camps or during the grotesque Nazi experimentations - other favorites included Bach, among others. As far as I know, there is no unspoken ban on Bach or Beethoven because of their association with the Nazis (Hitler chose to have Beethoven's Ninth performed for his birthday in 1942). Part of this is because of the function of music in German life in the early and middle parts of the 20th century - while most Americans now watch reality television or whatever (how many? 36 million? watched the American Idol finale), far more common in Germany (and other European countries) was the amateur production of chamber music by family musicians (which is why so much of Brahms' output is scored for odd arrangements of instruments). There is a reason that Adorno wrote that "there can be no poetry after Auschwitz," and that is because of the absolute bastardization of culture at the hands of genocidal maniacs, the way in which music was used as part of the process.

    In his fifth Reith Lecture, when talking about Israeli culture, Barenboim relates how a cab driver asked Jascha Heifetz, during Heiftz' first visit to Israel, what cadenza he played during the Beethoven violin concerto. Why is it that Wagner's music alone is the subject of an unofficial ban in Israel, especially, as some other posters have noted, most of these people probably were anti-Semitic? Wagner's anti-Semitism was especially profane, and he published a lot of it, and he was glorified by the Nazis in a way that others were not. Klemperer was one of the finest interpreters of Wagner in the 50s and 60s, and it is worthwhile to note that Klemperer himself fled Germany because of the Nazis and was forced to settle in America for a time. Klemperer conducted Wagner's music, and recorded a lot of it (and his Flying Dutchman is still considered a reference), even though Klemperer knew how the music had been used. That doesn't mean that those that heard the music while experiencing the Nazis' crimes should have to listen to it again; whether or not the Nazis misused it is really beside the point. What matters is that it was used, and how it was used, and foregoing the Tristan prelude in concert in Israel because of the suffering experienced by some of its citizens seems a small thing to ask of those that were spared the same experience.
     
  7. Tokyo Slim

    Tokyo Slim Senior member

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    Very interesting first post. Thanks.
     
  8. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    It was Richard Strauss who was sufficently part of the Nazi contemporary culture, not Wagner. Of course, like many collaborators his "allegiance" is highly dubious.

    Are Leni Riefenstahl's works allowed in Israel? What's fascinating about her is the undisguised voyeuristic, slightly perverse attitudes she has for her work, even in the underseas projects of fish and other rather banal things.
     
  9. Arethusa

    Arethusa Senior member

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    he wasn't anti-semitic in the way that, for instance, Mark Twain was racially insensitive.
    This is jumping back a bit, but what the hell?
     
  10. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    There is a reason that Adorno wrote that "there can be no poetry after Auschwitz," and that is because of the absolute bastardization of culture at the hands of genocidal maniacs, the way in which music was used as part of the process.
    It always seemed to me that Adorno's claim was based on something like what he used to accuse Benjamin of: certain transcendental aestheticism.
     
  11. Violinist

    Violinist Senior member

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    It was Richard Strauss who was sufficently part of the Nazi contemporary culture, not Wagner. Of course, like many collaborators his "allegiance" is highly dubious.

    Are Leni Riefenstahl's works allowed in Israel? What's fascinating about her is the undisguised voyeuristic, slightly perverse attitudes she has for her work, even in the underseas projects of fish and other rather banal things.


    Funny, I'm learning Strauss's violin sonata right now.
     
  12. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    This is jumping back a bit, but what the hell?


    A, I am sorry- I didn't understand your question. what I meant was that mark twain was racially insensitive, he used the N word a lot, but there is nothing to show that he hated blacks or certainly that racial hatred was a large part of his life.

    Wagner was not an anti-semite in passing. he wasn't an artist and family man who just happened to be an anti-semite. the philosophy and politics of anti-semitism and german nationalism were a significant part of who he was.


    was that the question?
     
  13. Arethusa

    Arethusa Senior member

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    It was directed at Mark Twain's ostensible "racial insensitivity". I have no idea how this myth persists; his writing makes it very clear that he believed in racial equality.
     
  14. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    It was directed at Mark Twain's ostensible "racial insensitivity". I have no idea how this myth persists; his writing makes it very clear that he believed in racial equality.


    I am sorry - English lit is not my subject, and I did not mean to slander mark twain. I picked him simply as an example of somebody who may have attitudes that relected the attitudes of his culture but were not acceptable by todays standards. If I was wrong, then I readily admit my mistake.

    my point was that there are people who have attitudes that would not fit into todays society, and then there are people who actually were invested heavily in horrible philosophies and political movements - Wagner was of the later.
     
  15. Arethusa

    Arethusa Senior member

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    I was in a hurry when I wrote that. I may have come across more bellicose than I intended. The subject is one that annoys me a lot, because our society obsesses over words. Huck Finn widely believed to be a racist novel because it features a black character who is called a nigger pretty much the whole way through. That his portrayal of the 19th century American South is historically accurate and unrelentingly vicious in its ironic attack on Southern racism is lost on people who see only the word. The same thing has happened on this forum a couple of times (I Heart Fags got a similar resonse). I'm dragging this off topic, so I'll leave it there. I realize your point is separate. For what it's worth, I think the issue is far more complex than that. Wagner was undoubtedly antisemitic and undoubtedly active, but he was not a Nazi, and I am not convinced his antisemitism would extend quite so far as to not be at all bothered by Auschwitz. That is of course conjecture, but so is believing he had (or, more accurately, would have had) any fondness for or connection to the Nazi party. He didn't, and it is only fair to view his racism in the context of his time. This in no way excuses it, but it was hardly uncommon, and I do not believe it invalidates his great accomplishments as a composer.
     
  16. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

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    I was in a hurry when I wrote that. I may have come across more bellicose than I intended. The subject is one that annoys me a lot, because our society obsesses over words. Huck Finn widely believed to be a racist novel because it features a black character who is called a nigger pretty much the whole way through. That his portrayal of the 19th century American South is historically accurate and unrelentingly vicious in its ironic attack on Southern racism is lost on people who see only the word. The same thing has happened on this forum a couple of times (I Heart Fags got a similar resonse). I'm dragging this off topic, so I'll leave it there. I realize your point is separate. For what it's worth, I think the issue is far more complex than that. Wagner was undoubtedly antisemitic and undoubtedly active, but he was not a Nazi, and I am not convinced his antisemitism would extend quite so far as to not be at all bothered by Auschwitz. That is of course conjecture, but so is believing he had (or, more accurately, would have had) any fondness for or connection to the Nazi party. He didn't, and it is only fair to view his racism in the context of his time. This in no way excuses it, but it was hardly uncommon, and I do not believe it invalidates his great accomplishments as a composer.
    It doesn’t. And if you read his papers, both published (especially Das Judenthum in der Musik) and personal you begin to see the great complexity and hypocorism of the man. He was jealous of his more famous Jewish counterparts and lashed out by criticizing their music and saying because a Jew does this or a Jew does that is the reason why he fails in music, which is of course nonsense, since there were two famous Jewish counter parts of Wagner: Meyerbeer and Mendelssohn (even though Mendelssohn was not a practicing Jew…). Also, Wagner was everything he blamed the Jews of being. He said the Jews were cheap; he was cheap. He said the Jews would use you; he was a user. He said the Jews only did things for their own benefit; he only did things for his own benefit. Because, lets not kid ourselves: he is not singling out Jewish traits, he is singling out Human traits. Being cheap and using people and doing things only for your benefit our traits that are shared by all of us, as a collective species. At the same time he was very afraid that his real father, who was probably Geyer, was Jewish, and was also very self conscious of what he considered to be ‘Jewish traits of appearance’, mainly his large nose (slightly hooked) and large head. A famous story durting the Nazi era is normally recited as thus: The hall overlooking the Vltava River in Prague has a roof that is ringed by busts of famous composers. During the war, Adolf Hitler ordered Felix Mendelssohn's bust removed because he was of Jewish origin. His troops climbed to the roof, but couldn't figure out which one was Mendelssohn, so they removed the bust with the largest nose. It turned out to be that of Richard Wagner, Hitler's favorite composer. Yet, Wagner have many Jewish friends. Alas, you have to separate the man and the music, if not you will simply deprive yourself of wonderful music based on the hypocritical writings of a man who has been dead for over 120 years. Jon.
     
  17. Violinist

    Violinist Senior member

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    It doesn’t. And if you read his papers, both published (especially Das Judenthum in der Musik) and personal you begin to see the great complexity and hypocorism of the man. He was jealous of his more famous Jewish counterparts and lashed out by criticizing their music and saying because a Jew does this or a Jew does that is the reason why he fails in music, which is of course nonsense, since there were two famous Jewish counter parts of Wagner: Meyerbeer and Mendelssohn (even though Mendelssohn was not a practicing Jew…).

    Also, Wagner was everything he blamed the Jews of being. He said the Jews were cheap; he was cheap. He said the Jews would use you; he was a user. He said the Jews only did things for their own benefit; he only did things for his own benefit. Because, lets not kid ourselves: he is not singling out Jewish traits, he is singling out Human traits. Being cheap and using people and doing things only for your benefit our traits that are shared by all of us, as a collective species.

    At the same time he was very afraid that his real father, who was probably Geyer, was Jewish, and was also very self conscious of what he considered to be ‘Jewish traits of appearance’, mainly his large nose (slightly hooked) and large head. A famous story durting the Nazi era is normally recited as thus:

    The hall overlooking the Vltava River in Prague has a roof that is ringed by busts of famous composers. During the war, Adolf Hitler ordered Felix Mendelssohn's bust removed because he was of Jewish origin. His troops climbed to the roof, but couldn't figure out which one was Mendelssohn, so they removed the bust with the largest nose. It turned out to be that of Richard Wagner, Hitler's favorite composer.


    Yet, Wagner have many Jewish friends. Alas, you have to separate the man and the music, if not you will simply deprive yourself of wonderful music based on the hypocritical writings of a man who has been dead for over 120 years.

    Jon.



    It's much simpler than that, it just sounds as if he was projecting.
     
  18. GQgeek

    GQgeek Senior member

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    So my question is what do Germans play for marriage ceremonies? I'm guessing the Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin is out of the question :p
     
  19. Geowu

    Geowu Senior member

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    "and they talk about freedom of speech..." what the fuck is that supposed to mean?
    Do you remember the Mohammed cartoons incident? that religious insult was allowed on the basis of "freedom of speech". Actually, there is no such thing as freedom of speech in certain countries. But they say there is. That's contradictory. The political ban on Wagner, the German ban on Hitler's book, etc.
     
  20. Nantucket Red

    Nantucket Red Senior member

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    To quote Mark Twain, Wagner's music is much better than it sounds.
     

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