The Life of Richard Wagner, Volume 2: 1848-1860

The Life of Richard Wagner, Volume 2: 1848-1860

Ernest Newman

Language: English

Pages: 607

ISBN: 0521290953

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In the vast literature on Richard Wagner, Ernest Newman's classic four-volume Life remains unsurpassed.

Volume II carries the story from 1848 to 1860. It describes the important, formative years in Wagner's life and reconstructs his role in the Dresden rising of 1849. Newman also discusses the changes that the Ring poem underwent during this period and illuminates Wagner's relations with his wife Minna, his mentor Liszt, and his circle in Zürich.

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way, but Johanna, for whom I wrote the part of Elsa … brings Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine into the world7 — all for the sake of her ‘career.’ If I could only rescue her for true art and show her to the world as an exception among the miserable prime donne of our epoch!” To Johanna herself, who had sent him her portrait, the wretched man poured out his bitterness and his longing for love: “I have never cherished resentment against you, but, at the most, a bitter astonishment, distressing doubts.… My

Munich. Liszt had been unable to respond to Wagner’s piteous appeal for financial help in the preceding January. In May, however, he sent him 1,000 francs (possibly the gift of the Princess, for Liszt himself had no superfluous funds at this time), though he could hold out no hopes of any yearly sustentation. Wagner’s broken health necessitated using part of this sum for a cure at Mornex, on Mont Salève, whither he went immediately after Tichatschek’s departure — in the early days of June. At

from Fips’s coat, studying the scores of the six symphonic poems of Liszt that had lately been published (Mazeppa, Orpheus, Les Préludes, Festklänge, Prometheus and Tasso), and designing, as well as he could, a house which he hoped might some day be his own. For at the hint of a willingness on Breitkopf & Härtel’s part to consider the publication of the score of the Ring his inveterate optimism with regard to the future had surged up in him again. On the 15th August, his cure being finished, he

him. Piecing together the complementary accounts of the episode given by Wagner in Mein Leben and in his contemporary letters to Frau Ritter, we gather that Liszt had been holding forth on the subject of the Jesuits, and had been annoyed by the constant smile on Karl’s face and by his attitude of implied opposition. (Liszt was always inclined to resent what he took to be disrespectful behaviour towards him on the part of young men, for the attitude towards him of the majority of the young people

and elaborate speculations, as if the stage were destined to replace some of those sublime illusions which the progress of reason is fast driving from the earth; as if its pageantry, and allegories, and figurative shadowing-forth of things, might supply men’s natures with much of that quickening nourishment which we once derived from the superstitions and mythologies of darker ages. Viewing the matter in this light, they proceed in the management of it with all due earnestness.” In his attitude

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