Bryan Magee wrote:I sometimes think there are two Wagners in our culture, almost unrecognizably different from one another: the Wagner possessed by those who know his work, and the Wagner imagined by those who know him only by name and reputation.
Hensher: There's so much to talk about with Wagner, the fact that we argue about him is just a sign of his intrinsic vastness. For instance, Wagner wasn't the only anti-Semite of the 19th Century, Schumann wrote appallingly of them through his life, he wrote, "Jews are always like that, don't pay any attention." Chopan was absolutely beastly about his Jewish publishers. We don't really care about their anti-Semitism.
Lebrecht: None of them said that the Jews should be excluded from the arts.
Fry:If I wrote an essay today, talking about the pernicious influence of American culture on the world, on the Coca-colaization of everything, and Starbucks, that makes everything uniform and homogeneous, that crushes down individual identities of nations, people would say "Oh he's very anti-American, Stephen." That wouldn't mean anything but if 50 years after I died, literally 50 years after I died, there came a leader of a people who rounded up there 10 years later all Americans that he could and gassed them, then people would look back on my essay on Anti-Americanism and say "That Stephen Fry, he was one of those Anti-Americans." It has a very different meaning, Anti-Semitism, cultural Anti-Semitism, of the 19th century, if you look through the black tunnel of the post-Shoah world.
And lynching "coloured folk" wasn't controversial in America in the late 1880's-early 1900's, but that doesn't make it any less despicable then, as now.As to the question of whether Wagner would have been controversial today for his views, as he wasn't really in his own day...
Zhen Li wrote:But are you never moved emotionally listening to his music?
The lynching and killing is sparked by ignorant and hateful views. If one then uses their talents to promote ignorance and hatred and that leads to lynching and killing then (I believe) one has a share of the responsibility for the action.Zhen Li wrote:But it's still a different thing to lynch and kill, than it is to hold ignorant and hateful views.
Sure. I loved "Flight of the Valkyries" when I first heard it during the helicopter attack scene in Apocalypse Now. Overall though, I can't say I'm a big fan of Wagners style. I mean, I believe that the rest of Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung) is pretty bloody awful actually.But are you never moved emotionally listening to his music?
I love Caravaggios work, but he was a drunken brawler. Does his work express and celebrate being a drunken brawler?Does Caravaggio''s crime reduce his value as an artist?
Yes, I feel that, unfortunately, it does.Does Gandhi's anti-Africanism reduce his value as a symbol of nonviolence?
Zhen Li wrote:Wagner was also Jewish.
Zhen Li wrote:The influence of Buddhism on Wagner can never be understated, it inspired the undercurrents of a lot of his works.
Wikipedia wrote:Wagner's final opera, Parsifal (1882), which was his only work written especially for his Bayreuth Festspielhaus and which is described in the score as a "Bühnenweihfestspiel" ("festival play for the consecration of the stage"), has a storyline suggested by elements of the legend of the Holy Grail. It also carries elements of Buddhist renunciation suggested by Wagner's readings of Schopenhauer.
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