Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner : The Sorcerer of Bayreuth

4.06 (72 ratings by Goodreads)
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Published in the run-up to the 200th anniversary of the composer's birth in 2013, and written by one of the most distinguished Wagner scholars in the world, this will be the Wagner book of the bicentenary. Richard Wagner (1813-1883) is one of the most influential - and also one of the most polarizing - composers in the history of music. Over the course of his long career, he produced a stream of spellbinding works that challenged musical convention through their richness and tonal experimentation, ultimately paving the way for modernism. This book presents an in-depth but easy-to-read overview of Wagner's life, work and times. Making use of the very latest scholarship - much of it undertaken by the author himself in connection with his editorship of The Wagner Journal - Millington reassesses received notions about Wagner and his work, demolishing ill-informed opinion in favour of proper critical understanding. It is a radical - and occasionally controversial - reappraisal of this most perplexing of composers. The book considers a whole range of themes, including the composer's original sources of inspiration; his fetish for exotic silks; his relationship with his wife, Cosima, and with his mistress, Mathilde Wesendonck; his anti-semitism; the operas' proto-cinematic nature; and the turbulent legacy both of the Bayreuth Festival and of Wagnerism itself. The volume's arrangement - unique among books on the composer - combines an accessible text, intriguing images and original documents in carefully co-ordinated sections, thus ensuring a consistently fresh approach.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 165 x 240 x 40mm | 1,050g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 120 Illustrations, black and white; 165 Illustrations, color
  • 050051643X
  • 9780500516430
  • 229,643

Table of contents

1. Father of the Man: Paternity and Childhood * 2. Learning the Craft: Youthful Apprenticeship * 3. Earning his Keep: First Professional Appointments * 4. Under the Yoke: Kapellmeister in Dresden * 5. The Eternal Wanderer: Der fliegende Hollander * 6. Desperately Seeking Venus: Tannhauser * 7. Swansong to Traditional Opera: Lohengrin * 8. Revolutionary Road: Uprising in Dresden * 9. The Zurich Years: Wagner's Exile in Switzerland * 10. The Rise and Fall of Valhalla: Der Ring des Nibelungen * 11. `Most Excellent Friend': Franz Liszt * 12. Muses, Mistresses and Mother-Figures: Wagner's Women * 13. The Behemoth of Bayreuth: Wagner's Personality * 14. Always Short: Wagner and Money * 15. In the Pink: The Role of Silks and Satins in Wagner's Life * 16. `My Adored and Angelic Friend': Ludwig II * 17. Fatal Attraction: Tristan und Isolde * 18. `Art is What Matters Here': Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg * 19. Grit in the Oyster: Anti-Semitism in Wagner's Life and Work * 20. Creative Spark: Sources of Inspiration in Wagner's Work * 21. The Silent Sufferer: Cosima Wagner * 22. Tribschen Interlude: The Lucerne Years * 23. A Home for the Gods: The Bayreuth Project * 24. Wagner's Last Card: Parsifal * 25. Death in Venice: The Events of Wagner's Last Days * 26. Perfect and Imperfect Wagnerites: The Spread of the Wagner Cult * 27. Panning for Gold: Wagner and Cinema * 28. Swastikas Over Bayreuth: Wagner and the Third Reich * 29. Regime Change: The Grandsons Usher In the Era of New Bayreuth * 30. Renewing the Legacy: Bayreuth Today and in the Future * Family Tree
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Review quote

'The most readable of books, engagingly presented and beautifully produced - with striking illustrations on good paper that make it a pleasure to turn the pages' - Ham & High 'Exemplary lucidity whether outlining an opera plot or musical structure, unravelling a complex philosophical argument or adjudicating a contentious socio-political issue' - Opera 'A balanced and beautifully illustrated compendium of life and works, written in Millington's easy-to-read style' - Financial Times (Best Books of 2012) 'The Wagner book of the bicentenary ... sumptuous ... If you only read one book about Wagner, make it this one ... Puts the great man into context and perspective, and this is a wonderfully readable book about a musical genius. Simply fantastic' - Books Monthly 'An excellent book ... lavishly illustrated, with photographs and portraits of the leading participants in Wagner's astounding life ... this book should be on every budding Wagnerian's shelves' - Opera Now
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About Barry Millington

Barry Millington is chief music critic for the London Evening Standard and the editor of The Wagner Journal. He has written and edited, or co-edited, seven books on Wagner, including The Wagner Compendium, The Ring of the Nibelungen: A Companion and the New Grove Guide to Wagner and his Operas.
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Rating details

72 ratings
4.06 out of 5 stars
5 33% (24)
4 44% (32)
3 19% (14)
2 0% (0)
1 3% (2)
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