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Being Wagner: The Story of the Most Provocative Composer Who Ever Lived

Being Wagner: The Story of the Most Provocative Composer Who Ever Lived

"Until I read this clearsighted and witty biography I hadn't fully realized two things about Wagner: one, how truly awful a human being he was, a monster not only of anti-Semitism but of egotism, ingratitude, irresponsibility and selfishness on an epic scale and, two, how much of his epic musical achievement was solely the product of his own obsessive drive and imagination that required virtually recreating the standards of opera, staging, performance, and a dozen other elements to make it all possible. Callow is full of respect and admiration for the latter while remaining suitably unsparing about the former. This is a very entertaining book about a man you wouldn't want to spend time with."

Alan H.

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Author Simon Callow
Publisher Vintage
Publication Date 2018-02-06
Section Music / New Titles - Paperback / All Staff Suggestions / Non-Fiction Suggestions / Alan H.
Type New
Format Paperback
ISBN 9780525436188

Simon Callow, the celebrated author of Orson Welles, delivers a dazzling, swift, and accessible biography of the musical titan Richard Wagner and his profoundly problematic legacy--a fresh take for seasoned acolytes and the perfect introduction for new fans. Richard Wagner's music dramas have never been more popular or more divisive. His ten masterpieces, created against the backdrop of a continent in severe political and cultural upheaval, constitute an unmatched body of work. A man who spent most of his life in abject poverty, inspiring both critical derision and hysterical hero-worship, Wagner was a walking contradiction: belligerent, flirtatious, disciplined, capricious, demanding, visionary, and poisonously anti-Semitic. Acclaimed biographer Simon Callow evokes the intellectual and artistic climate in which Wagner lived and takes us through his most iconic works, from his pivotal successes in The Flying Dutchman and Lohengrin, to the musical paradigm shift contained in Tristan and Isolde, to the apogee of his achievements in The Ring of the Nibelung and Parsifal, which debuted at Bayreuth shortly before his death. Being Wagner brings to life this towering figure, creator of the most sublime and most controversial body of work ever known.

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