Curved Air presents:
Richard Wagner [1813-1883] was a complex man and a garbage human being. He slept with his friends’ wives. He borrowed money from wealthy patrons and never paid it back. He was an unapologetic antisemite. BUT…Wagner was one of the greatest musical minds since Bach. I might even go so far as to say he was one of the greatest artistic minds of all time. Richard Wagner was a man with a vision, and he had the will and energy to bring that vision to life. And OH! what a vision! But he hurt people along the way. Can a man like that know anything about love?? Listen to this week’s episode and decide for yourself.
Tonight we listen to excerpts from the operas ‘Tristan Und Isolde’ and ‘Twilight Of The Gods’, as well as complete performances of ‘Siegfried Idyll’ and ‘Wesendonck-Lieder’.
From Wikipedia: “Wagner composed the ‘Siegfried Idyll’ as a birthday present to his second wife, Cosima, after the birth of their son Siegfried in 1869. It was first performed on Christmas morning, 25 December 1870, by a small ensemble of the Tonhalle Orchester Zürich on the stairs of their villa at Tribschen, Switzerland. Cosima awoke to its opening melody.” (That’s sweet, right?)
Also from Wikipedia: “The ‘Wesendonck-Lieder’ are settings of poems by Mathilde Wesendonck, the wife of one of Richard Wagner’s patrons. Wagner had become acquainted with Otto Wesendonck in Zürich, where he had fled on his escape from Saxony after the May Uprising in Dresden in 1849. For a time Wagner and his wife Minna lived together in the Asyl (German for Asylum in the sense of “sanctuary”), a small cottage on the Wesendonck estate. It is sometimes claimed that Wagner and Mathilde had a love affair; in any case, the situation and mutual infatuation certainly contributed to the intensity in the conception of ‘Tristan und Isolde’. (Is that…sweet?…eh?)
Seriously though…any serious listener of music must come to terms with Richard Wagner. Comment below if you’d like to discuss. But most importantly, enjoy the music!
(FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES)
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