Book by Alex Ross, 2020
“Wagnerism (2020) chronicles how the works of Richard Wagner have influenced thinkers in the years since his death. Exploring the multitude of ways in which people have interpreted his music, it looks beyond his artistic legacy to his political influence – most of all on the Nazi party.“
“Richard Wagner’s influence on art and politics has been immense right up to the present day. Different countries, movements, and individuals have all interpreted his monumental music dramas in different ways. For the French he was scandalously decadent, for the Germans he was proudly nationalistic. For modernist writers he was an artistic pioneer, and for politicians he was a revolutionary – as Hitler’s appropriation of Wagner shows only too well. What Wagner’s powerful, strident music really meant remains ambiguous – but the more compelling question is, What do we make of him?” Blinkist, Amazon, Goodreads
- Discover how the composer Richard Wagner influenced cultural life long after his death.
- Richard Wagner’s visionary music dramas have remained astonishingly influential.
- Wagner’s international influence on literature was vast, varied, and lasting.
- Wagner’s enormous artistic influence in Austria and Germany was entangled with nationalism.
- Despite Wagner’s bigoted views, he had fans among Jewish, Black, and gay communities.
- As war and revolution raged, both the right and the left appropriated Wagner.
- The Nazis’ appropriation of Wagner rested on just one possible interpretation of the composer’s ambiguous worldview.
- Wagner has continued to inspire art and culture – and resist easy interpretation.
- Richard Wagner’s passionate and compelling music dramas reflect humanity, for better or worse.
From the reviews:
“…great read on how art can have an effect on culture.”
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