Wherever Wolfgang Mozart went he seemed to create controversy. It seemed people either loved him or hated him. Most tended to fall into the latter category. As he began to take over the territory previously owned by the ‘older, established composers’ the tumult became even worse. He could not possibly have composed an opera as a teen-ager, they said. Surely, Leopold must have composed it for him. They seemed to forget that in all his days Leopold had never composed an opera attributed to himself.
The minute Wolf would arrive in a town, the word went out. Whispers began. What would he do? What would he say? What outrageous piece would he compose today? How would he, by inference, humiliate his peers who struggled to compose and edit while he tossed off pieces he seemed to pull out of his head?
And this is how the vortex began. The whispers of the venticelli turned into a general agreement that something must be done. This obnoxious overlord had to be stopped. And so they banded together in agreement over his demise. They treated him as though he were already dead. Then they waited for something to happen. Every time he moved, every time he stumbled, they rejoiced. And they lay in wait. The vortex of slander grew larger as Wolf became more vulnerable. He succumbed to the vortex of the evil eye, and they rejoiced. They stole his music to parade like a banner — they had defeated the great one, the one who could not be imitated because of a unique gift of shalom which caused them to gnash their teeth. They could perform Wolf’s music using their energy and remain unscathed from its effects. Or so they believed…
@squirrel said,”It’s irresponsible to drop salacious tidbits like that when you aren’t authorized to talk about anything substantive.”
“Salacious” might be appropriate, for example, for discussing the obsession of Monostatos with Pamina (in Mozart’s last major opera). Hopefully, the clues here are a bit esoteric. If not, I sincerely apologize.
Interesting that you seem to be making a case for AH’s anti-Semitism to have developed later in his life rather than something he believed in as a teenager.
Of course, there was another Jewish person involved in AH’s family life, the physician Dr. Bloch:
Perhaps we can agree that RW was a flawed person who, in spite of his personal issues, managed to create music worthy of its still being performed 200 years after his birth. Perhaps that concept even gives hope to the rest of us…
Would you care to add any definition to your use of the term ‘crazy’? Surely, being born into the Wagner family alone presents issues most of us don’t have to confront, for good or ill. But then, is this the ‘crazy’ of someone thinking outside the box who is on a mission to correct misperceptions, or is this the ‘crazy’ of someone truly disconnected from the real world?
I recently experienced the Met HD Live Stream of the McVickar production of Giulio Cesare with Natalie Dessay as Cleopatra, and was alternately curious and dismayed at what I can only call its ‘over-production’. There was so much to look at, the music was almost left in the distance. So I decided to simply listen to Ms. Dessay, rather than being concerned if she was going to wrinkle her brow while emoting (an 18-year-old Cleopatra wouldn’t have done that) or how many hours of yoga (she talked about this during the break) it took for her to acquire such nicely toned arms. In that respect, this CD does not disappoint. In fact, after listening to it a number of times during the past week, I can comfortably say that, though purists may with justification complain that not all the arias of Cleopatra are included in the CD, or that Ms. Dessay may at times seem to do almost as much improvising as ornamentation, that this is a pleasure to listen to. Ms. Dessay has a lovely and agile voice that handles the range and nuances of these Baroque arias with grace, and at times breathtaking, eloquence.
“German conductor Christian Thielemann, the Bayreuth Festival’s unofficial musical director, contends in his own recent book entitled “My Life with Wagner” that music is per se non-political and that a “C-major chord is just a C-major chord”.”
That may be so, but is beside the point when the music has been used and represented as a political vehicle, not to mention, when the composer himself is so wrapped up in false thinking that one can argue whether or not anti-Semitism was deliberately injected, not into the music, per se, but into the operas.
With all due respect to CT, I think he (still) has his head in the sand…
With all due respect, to many of us, “Never Again” means far more even than Wagner’s music. If only all the Wagner descendants embraced Gottfried’s position. But they don’t.
Gottfried Wagner is a breath of fresh air. It takes courage to be in the middle of the Wagner family and yet stick to his own principles, especially in public. I imagine some of the other Wagners are just cringing at his honesty.
I have come to love Wagner’s music in spite of myself. For many years I refused to have anything to do with it because of Wagner’s anti-Semitism and the connection of his music to Hitler and the Third Reich. But his music to me transcends even the horrific connection, and some productions, such as the recent Francois Girard Parsifal at the Met, can help Wagner’s music to be understood in a timeless and universal manner.