1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 2013
One might be forgiven for thinking, if one did not know otherwise, given the battering that Wagner gets, that he - Wagner - was some minor or incompetent composer of Opera. Were it not that Adorno metes out the same treatment elsewhere to Schoenberg, one might think that Adorno was merely indulging in anti-gentile rhetoric. That is of course not the case and Adorno's perspicuity as to Wagner is most acute and enlightening.
Tolstoy, in What is Art, also embarked on a hatchet-job against Wagner but not withstanding Marxist inspired productions of The Ring with Brunhilde wandering around with a paper-bag over her head, self-loathing German productions of Meistersinger with everyone in Nazi uniform, or Dutchman from the point of view of The Steersman, Senta or any other character, Wagner continues to be played to audiences such that the demand for Wagner is never satisfied. I would like to see a philosopher - perhaps Scruton - explain exactly why despite the onslaught, that this is so. The fact remains that Wagner is - despite his weaknesses, which Adorno correctly identifies - arguably the greatest composer of the Nineteenth Century.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 13 January 2006
This is one of the major studies of Wagner, superbly well served by its translator. It's a pity, though, that the publisher has chosen as a cover image of Wagner a photograph that was shown to be inauthentic over thirty years ago.
9 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 17 November 2008
From the picture on the cover - which is neither of Wagner, nor of Adorno - to the index, which proudly proclaims that "the name of Richard Wagner has been omitted" this seems to be a book in which Wagner is sought but is deliberately never found. Instead we have to trudge through endless turgid Marxist-derived critique of Wagner and his works. There are one or two interesting insights here (I liked the observation that, despite Wagner's dislike of cruelty to animals, Brunnhilde's horse Grane still has to be urged into the fire - and has to like it!), but it's a curate's egg of a book. The most controversial claim is that the characters of Mime and Beckmesser are anti-semitic stereotypes, however there is no evidence provided to support this thesis: presumably proof is for the bourgeoisie. There are many typos, particularly toward the end, as if the proofreader was too bored by the material to check it properly. No, if you want a short book with real insights into Wagner, then check out Bryan Magee's "Aspects of Wagner".