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Richard Wagner's Beethoven (1870)

Richard Wagner's Beethoven (1870): A New Translation

Newly Translated and with an Introduction by Roger Allen
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 227
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  • Book Info
    Richard Wagner's Beethoven (1870)
    Book Description:

    Despite the enormous and accelerating worldwide interest in Wagner leading to the bicentenary of his birth in 2013, his prose writings have received scant scholarly attention. Wagner's book-length essay on Beethoven, written to celebrate the centenary of Beethoven's birth in 1870, is really about Wagner himself rather than Beethoven. It is generally regarded as the principal aesthetic statement of the composer's later years, representing a reassessment of the ideas of the earlier Zurich writings, especially Oper und Drama, in the light of the experience gained through the composition of Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and the greater part of Der Ring des Nibelungen. It contains Wagner's most complete exegesis of his understanding of Schopenhauer's philosophy and its perceived influence on the compositional practice of his later works. The essay also influenced the young Nietzsche. It is an essential text in the teaching of not only Wagnerian thought but also late nineteenth-century musical aesthetics in general. Until now the English reader with no access to the German original has been obliged to work from two Victorian translations. This brand new edition gives the German original and the newly translated English text on facing pages. It comes along with a substantial introduction placing the essay not only within the wider historical and intellectual context of Wagner's later thought but also in the political context of the establishment of the German Empire in the 1870s. The translation is annotated throughout with a full bibliography. Richard Wagner's Beethoven will be indispensable reading for historians and musicologists as well as those interested in Wagner's philosophy and the aesthetics of music. ROGER ALLEN is Fellow and Tutor in Music at St Peter's College, Oxford.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-384-3
    Subjects: Music, Philosophy

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface and Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Roger Allen
  4. A Note on the Translation and Sources
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-28)

    In 1870 Wagner was approaching the summit of his creative achievement as he brought theRingtowards completion with the orchestration ofSiegfriedAct III and the composition ofGötterdämmerung. There was also a longed-for and welcome improvement in his domestic circumstances: Cosima’s marriage to Hans von Bülow was formally dissolved on 18 July, leaving Wagner and Cosima free to legalise their union and legitimise their already well-established domestic household at the Villa Tribschen on Lake Lucerne. The pair married in the Protestant Church in Lucerne on 25 August with Hans Richter and Malwida von Meysenburg as witnesses.¹

    1870 was...

  7. Richard Wagner’s Beethoven (German text and English translation)
    (pp. 29-200)

    The author of the present work felt compelled to make his own contribution to the celebration of the centenary of the birth of our greatBeethoven, and, since no other opportunity worthy of the celebration was forthcoming, he chose a written exposition of his thoughts on the significance ofBeethoven’s music as it presented itself to him. The form in which he eventually treated the matter came from the thought that he had been invited to make the commemorative speech at an ideal celebration of the great musician; but, as this speech was in reality not to be made, he...

  8. Appendix: ‘Beethoven u[nd] d[ie] deutsche Nation’ (German text)
    (pp. 201-202)
  9. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 203-210)
  10. Index
    (pp. 211-214)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 215-215)