Annotations for Wagner
Blackwell North Amer
Whilst no one would dispute Wagner's ranking amongst the most significant composers in the history of Western music, his works have been more fiercely attacked than those of any other composer. A racist, womaniser, megalomaniac and anti-Semite, Wagner's personal 'defects' have provoked, and continue to provoke, intense hostility which has translated into a mistrust and abhorrence of his music.
In this emphatic, lucid book Michael Tanner discusses why people feel so passionately for or against Wagner, in a way that they don't about other artists with equally lamentable personal traits. He lays out the various arguments made by 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 - The Ring, Tristan und Isolde, Parsifal. He refrains from lengthy and detailed musical examination, giving instead, passionate and unconventional analyses which are accessible to all lovers of music, be they listeners or performers.