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The Wagner Compendium: A Guide to Wagner's…
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The Wagner Compendium: A Guide to Wagner's Life and Music (udgave 2001)

af Barry Millington (Redaktør)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingSamtaler
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Edited by one of the leading Wagner scholars of modern times, and with contributions from seventeen experts from around the world, The Wagner Compendium is the key to a complete understanding of the composer-- the most comprehensive, informative and well-organized guide to his life and times.Features include:calendar of Wagner's life, works and related events who's who of Wagner's contemporariesdetails of historical, intellectual and musical backgroundexploration of Wagner's character and opinionsfull list of Wagner's prose writingscomprehensive listing and discussion of the works… (mere)
Medlem:mccloughan
Titel:The Wagner Compendium: A Guide to Wagner's Life and Music
Forfattere:Barry Millington (Redaktør)
Info:Thames & Hudson (2001), Paperback, 432 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
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Nøgleord:music

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The Wagner Compendium: A Guide to Wagner's Life and Music af Barry Millington

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The standard reference work ( )
  Kakania | Oct 22, 2019 |
The Wagner Compendium
A Guide to Wagner's Life and Music

Barry Millington, General Editor

Thames & Hudson, Paperback, 2001.

4to. 432 pp. Cover: Portrait of Wagner by Franz Lenbach (1870).

First published, 1992?

Contents

Section 1
CALENDAR OF WAGNER'S LIFE, WORKS AND RELATED EVENTS

(Barry Millington)

Section 2
WHO'S WHO OF WAGNER'S CONTEMPORARIES
(Barry Millington)

Section 3
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The Holy Roman Empire from 1618 to 1789
The French Revolution and the Wars of Liberation: 1789-1815
Reaction and revolution: 1815-1849
German unification 'from above': 1850-1871
The Reich in Europe: 1871-1883
(Konrad Bund)

Section 4
INTELLECTUAL BACKGROUND

Philosophy (Roger Hollindrake)
Literature (Raymond Furness)
Religion (Roger Hollindrake)

Section 5
MUSICAL BACKGROUND AND INFLUENCES

Formation of the earlier style
The music drama and its antecedents
Patronage, commissions and royalties in Wagner's day
(Thomas S. Grey)

Section 6
WAGNER AS INDIVIDUAL

Paternity (Barry Millington)
Family (Barry Millington)
Appearance and character (Barry Millington)
Wagner as a conductor (David Breckbill)
Wagner's working routine (Thomas S. Grey)
THE PORTRAITS (plates 1-20)
Wagner as polemicist (William Weber)
Finances and attitude to money (Barry Millington)
Wagner and women (Barry Millington)
Relationship with King Ludwig II (Barry Millington)
Dealings with publishers (Ronald Taylor)
Dealings with critics (Ronald Taylor)
Wagner as scapegoat (Barry Millington)

Section 7
MYTHS AND LEGENDS

(Barry Millington)

Section 8
OPINIONS AND OUTLOOK

Social and political attitudes (Roger Hollindrake)
Philosophical outlook (Roger Hollindrake)
Religious beliefs (Roger Hollindrake)
Literary tastes (Stewart Spencer)
The Beethoven legacy (Thomas S. Grey)
Opera and social reform (William Weber)
Wagner and the Greeks (Hugh Lloyd-Jones)
Wagner and the Jews (Barry Millington)
Wagner's Middle Ages (Stewart Spencer)
Bayreuth and the idea of festival theatre (Stewart Spencer)
Contemporary composers (Thomas S. Grey)
Wagner, animals and modern scientific medicine (Joachim Thiery and Ulrich Thröhler)
Wagner's critique of science and technology (Joachim Thiery and Ulrich Thröhler)

Section 9
SOURCES

Autobiographical writings (Stewart Spencer)
Diaries (Stewart Spencer)
Letters (Stewart Spencer)
Collected writings (Stewart Spencer)
Autograph manuscripts:
- Sketches/drafts (text)
- Sketches/drafts (music)
- Scores
(Warren Darcy)
WAGNER'S HAND (plates 21-30)
Printed editions:
- Breitkopf edition
- Sämtliche Werke (Schott)
- Miscellaneous
(Warren Darcy)

Section 10
A WAGNERIAN GLOSSARY

(Thomas S. Grey)

Section 11
MUSICAL STYLE

Compositional process (Warren Darcy)
Musical language (Arnold Whittall)

Section 12
WAGNER AS LIBRETTIST

(Stewart Spencer)

Section 13
THE MUSIC

Operas
Orchestral music
Choral music
Chamber music
Works for solo voice and orchestra
Works for solo voice and piano
Piano music
Projected or unfinished dramatic works
Editions and arrangements
(Barry Millington)

Section 14
THE PROSE WORKS

A list of Wagner's writings, speeches, open letters and reviews
(Barry Millington)

Section 15
ORCHESTRATION

(Jonathan Burton)

Section 16
PERFORMANCE PRACTICE

The orchestra
Conducting
Singing
Wagner and the early music movement
(David Breckbill)

Section 17
WAGNER IN PERFORMANCE

Singing (David Breckbill)
Conducting (David Breckbill)
Staging (Barry Millington)

Section 18
RECEPTION

Contemporary assessments (David C. Large)
Posthumous reputation and influence (David C. Large)
The Bayreuth legacy (David C. Large)
The birth of modernism:
- Wagner's impact on the history of music (Arnold Whittall)
- Wagner's impact on literature (Raymond Furness)
- Wagner's impact on visual arts (Michael Hall)
Wagner literature:
- Biographies (Stewart Spencer)
- Analysis and criticism (Christopher Wintle)
- Miscellaneous (Stewart Spencer)

Select Bibliography
List of illustrations
The Contributors
Index


=============================================

This Wagner Compendium, if anything, is a very impressive volume: 432 pages and dimensions 25.4 x 19.3 x 3.3 cm, a quarto actually. No fewer than 18 scholars, all of them quite experienced in the dark waters of Wagnerian sholarship, combined their forces under the aegis of Barry Millington to produce this remarkable book comprised of 18 sections in which pretty much everything concerning Richard Wagner is discussed. Of course the discussions are far from exhaustive, or even extensive in some cases, but they do provide an excellent basic knowledge about Wagner's works and personality, life and family, opinions, influences, outlook and relationships with a number of people.

The greatest disadvantage of so many scholars at one place is that the style is quite often as dry and academic as it could be, and sometimes though informative it is all but unreadable, the Historical Background section (written by Konrad Bund and translated by Stewart Spencer) is perhaps the most tragic example. Some other writers - Roger Hollindrake and Thomas Grey, for example - sometimes have problems with lucidity and may occasionally sound quite laboured; at all events, however, all contributors remain highly informative and most up-to-date. On the whole, Barry Millington is the only one whose writing possesses something like humour and can safely be called readable, prejudices and all.

So The Wagner Compendium is hardly a book to be read for pleasure, but I presume it is such by design. As a quick, and hopefully reliable, reference about Wagner's life, music and personality it is indispensable for every Wagner neophyte - like myself - and I can recommend it wholeheartedly. For those who want to get deeper under the skin of the most controversial composer ever lived, the book contains probably the most extensive bibliography of books and articles about Wagner, including his own voluminous writings which are discussed and analysed by Stewart Spencer.

Richard Wagner was an extremely complicated man, as every genuine genius should be. For all his tremendous megalomania and fierce anti-Semitism, unbelievable egoism and relentless desire to have it his own way no matter what the world thought, he changed the history of music and after him the opera was never again the same. Hardly the music and the personality of any other composer have provoked so wide a range of emotional reactions - from unabashed adulation all the way down to equally unreasonable loathing. So the contributors to The Wagner Compendium had the formidable task to sieve the facts from the myths, to separate the most probable historical reality from the most subtle fantasy.

In the preface of the volume Barry Millington states that, despite some differences of opinion, one common thing for all contributors is a certain dose of healthy scepticism. One wonders about that when one reads how almost every popular belief about Wagner is being demolished, usually in positive direction. Nevertheless, in most cases the authors are quite convincing that - to take just one example - the famous myth about Wagner being the third person most written about, after Napoleon and Jesus Christ, is indeed a myth. Nor, as it seems, was Wagner's famous philandering on such a grand scale as some would have us believe it was. He did have some extramarital flings with married woman all right, but no more than a few in his whole life, and even for some of them it is still not quite possible to prove that they ever went beyond the innocent flirt.

But when the contributors to The Wagner Compendium try to convince in the great composer's gratitude, their failure is monumental. If such thing ever existed, it was expressed solely is words - spoken or written, but words all the same. None of the authors mentions the great deal of work Franz Liszt did to keep Wagner's popularity in Germany unflagging while the composer was in exile. Liszt conducted (after 46 rehearsals!) the world premiere of Lohengrin in Weimar, he conducted numerous times Wagner's operas in the theatre and preludes and overtures in his concerts; he made some of the greatest piano arrangements of Wagner's music. How did the good old Richard thank him for all that? In his typical style: he didn't, save for a few speeches; not to mention the fact that Wagner had quite a successful career as conductor and never did he include in any of his programs a work by Liszt. So much for Wagner's gratitude.

Another caveat the reader of The Wagner Compendium should be warned about is that the authors are sometimes inclined to nit-picking, especially concerning the notorious (and minor) falsifications, deliberate or not, in Wagner's autobiography Mein Leben. After all, had Wagner written the facts of his life unchanged, he simply would not have been the creative artist and the genius he most certainly was.

On the whole, however, the authors of The Wagner Compendium have remarkably balanced opinions and their striving for objectivity is admirable, academic dryness and all. As often as not, they are more or less convincing; the fans of the popular belief of Wagner as Don Juan or Wagner as avaricious monster are in for quite a surprise, and so are those convinced in Wagner's anti-Semitism being a purely personal reaction for that matter.

One place, perhaps the only one, when all this conscientiously created illusion of objectivity completely fails, to my mind, to convince is the section discussing singing, conducting and staging of Wagner's works. Almost every sentence here reflects some kind of bias that usually smacks of ridiculous prejudice. The result is that the whole Section 17 might well have remained unpublished without any loss for the reader.

On the other hand, such sections as Wagnerian Glossary, Who's Who, or Calendar of Wagner's Life are superbly done and as excellent a reference on the subject as there ever was one. It must also be noted that the section about Wagner's music is impeccable. Not only are all of Wagner's operas discussed succinctly but in great detail - sources for the libretto, composition of the music, innovations in style, philosophical significance, dramatis personae, synopses, and so on - but any other piece of music Wagner ever composed, or is supposed to have composed, is mentioned with a few words. For me it was quite a surprise to learn that in addition to his 13 operas and music dramas, the so called Wagner-Werk-Verzeichnis ("Catalogue of Wagner's Works") contains exactly one hundred compositions more: a symphony, overtures, marches, piano pieces, songs, even a string quartet, though almost all of these works were juvenilia that fell into oblivion as soon as it was composed.

So, if you are an aspiring Wagner neophyte, if Wagner's music and personality scare you a little but fascinate you a great deal more, The Wagner Compendium is the right book to have. A daunting and occasionally even hard read for sure, but richly rewarding and quite indispensable as a reliable, quick-and-easy reference about almost everything connected with the age, life, works and character of Richard Wagner. ( )
1 stem Waldstein | Feb 14, 2010 |
A guide to what Wagner and his music and life were like. Love him or hate him. I love his music but what a cad.
  MarthaLillie | Sep 13, 2008 |
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Edited by one of the leading Wagner scholars of modern times, and with contributions from seventeen experts from around the world, The Wagner Compendium is the key to a complete understanding of the composer-- the most comprehensive, informative and well-organized guide to his life and times.Features include:calendar of Wagner's life, works and related events who's who of Wagner's contemporariesdetails of historical, intellectual and musical backgroundexploration of Wagner's character and opinionsfull list of Wagner's prose writingscomprehensive listing and discussion of the works

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