Wagner's Nazi Stigma

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Van der Decken
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Wagner's Nazi Stigma

Post by Van der Decken » Fri May 04, 2018 11:56 am

Is it fair? This article asks.
http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/201305 ... tigma-fair

Some quotes below. I have to differer with their statement (my bold text in quotes below) "The conflation of Wagner and Hitler has always posed difficulties for any principled listener," Why? If we were to avoid music, films, products, etc. that were produced by someone who had moral characteristics we disagree with, we might not find much we could listen to, watch, or buy. Why can't the music be separated from the man in that Wagner's music does not show racism? So why don't people acknowledge he was racist, disagree with it, and move on? That should work for most of us. I think a more accurate statement would be "The conflation of Wagner and Hitler has posed difficulties for some listeners who are unable to to get over Wagner's personal traits and simply enjoy the music," I oppose racism, yet do not feel the least compunction over listening to Wagner's masterful and genius musical works. My listening does not promote racism and does not give credence to Wagner's racism.
Certainly there are few cultural figures as divisive as the composer, polemicist, dramatist and conductor born in Leipzig on 22 May 1813. Yet nobody, whatever their thoughts on the man, can overstate Wagner’s significance to music. The extremity and the force of his genius altered forever the course of the art form in a way that only a handful of others – Bach, Beethoven, Schoenberg – have ever done.
The conflation of Wagner and Hitler has always posed difficulties for any principled listener, Jewish or otherwise. And with Wagner in everyone’s eyes and ears this year, a litany of vexing questions beckons. Can we listen to, watch or perform Wagner’s music with a clear conscience? Was Wagner’s music despicably perverted by the Nazis, or did their adulation merely expose its inherent perversions? And in what circumstances can Wagner conscionably be performed by or for Jews?
Barenboim is also quick to point out that widespread recognition of Wagner’s anti-Semitism did not prevent his music from being performed by Jews even after Hitler came to power. In Tel Aviv in 1936, for example, the Palestine Philharmonic – precursor to today’s Israel Philharmonic – memorably performed the prelude to Act 1 and Act 3 of Lohengrin under the baton of Arturo Toscanini. “Nobody had a word to say about it,” Barenboim remarks. “Nobody criticised [Toscanini]; the orchestra was very happy to play it.”
The Wagner issue is particularly nettlesome for many listeners because invariably the music itself engenders precisely the opposite feelings. For overwhelming emotion, love, passion and humanity there is little comparable to Wagner. But perhaps this inherent contradiction is where the composer’s most radical value lies.
"Pray heaven that soon a wife will keep faith with him!" Senta speaking of the Hollander.
Don Fatale
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Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:55 am

Re: Wagner's Nazi Stigma

Post by Don Fatale » Sun May 06, 2018 8:40 am

Bottom line, Wagner was not a Nazi (as it is not technically possible) nor was his life and work motivated by a hatred of Jews, although some seem strangely flattered that this might be the case.

The current trend for iconoclasticism from which virtually no historical figure means that this continue to rumble on.

Meanwhile I'll soon be attending a concert of Carl Orff, a virtual house composer of the Nazis.
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