The Wagner Operas Paperback – 13 Oct 1991
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Newman is one of the preeminent authorities on the German composer. This title analyzes ten of Wagner's greatest operas. -- Library Journal
Newman is one of the preeminent authorities on the German composer. This title analyzes ten of Wagner's greatest operas. -- "Library Journal
"Newman is one of the preeminent authorities on the German composer. This title analyzes ten of Wagner's greatest operas."--"Library Journal"
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Newman comments intellegently on all aspects of the operas. He includes musical themes--surely a necessity in the work of that expert user of the leitmotif!--and even the psychological dimensions of the music. (Before I saw "Tristan und Isolde," I attended a presentation of a musicologist who nearly broke into tears as to the depth of the music in that opera. His comments reminded me of those of Newman regarding the same piece, which reminds me of Jung, one, whom you might say, was a product of some of the same Germanic trends of the late 19th century. But, enough on that...)
I read each review before I see the opera to which it applies. I read them again periodically. They are magnificent, allow for reasonable criticism. But they also give the devil his due.
I cannot recommend the book more strongly for anyone interested in Wagner, especially if you plan to hear or see the operas. Then leave the volume next to your bed. It's well worth re-reading, learning all dimensions of the music of perhaps the best composer who ever lived.
Is that extreme? Perhaps. Was Wagner's genius extreme? Off the scale.
Read and enjoy it.
Any readers who are interested in Wagner will find material of interest here, no matter how familiar they might be with the the operas and musical dramas. There are some things that should be considered by the reader. 1)Newman's idea of staging is that of Wagner's. Written before the Wagner' grandsons began revised staging at Bayreuth and without any thought of the caprices of modern regio-opera staging we are given what Wagner intened minus modern heavy metal or plank riding Walkuries. 2) Slightly anoying is Newman's snide comments on Wagner's earlier romantic operas (Dutchman, Tannhauser and Lohengrin) for not being later musical dramas. Newman is also blind to the fact that even as late as Gotterdammurg, Wagner did not hestiate to return to this earlier form when needed (e.g. The trio in the second act with Brunhild, Hagen and Gunther). But these are minor quibbles in an excellent book
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