German Composer, Conductor, Theatre Director and Polemicist known for his Operas
Richard Wagner, fully Wilhelm Richard Wagner
German Composer, Conductor, Theatre Director and Polemicist known for his Operas
Who, then, will be the Artist of the Future? The poet? The performer? The musician? The plastician? - Let us say it in one word: the Folk. That selfsame Folk to whom we owe the only genuine Art-work, still living even in our modern memory, however much distorted by our restorations; to whom alone we owe all Art itself.
Woe! Woe! sweetest woman you saddest of all the faithful rages against thee in arms the world: and I, the only familiar you, for you defied her only, with my protection should not I protect you, the Kuehne betrayed in battle? Ha, shame him, who created the sword to me, he summoned me Schimpf for victory! Do I have to fall, not moving I to Valhalla: ! Hella hold me
What "Conservatives," "Liberals" and "Conservative-liberals," and finally "Democrats," "Socialists," or even "Social-democrats" etc., have lately uttered on the Jewish Question, must seem to us a trifle foolish; for none of these parties would think of testing that "Know thyself" upon themselves, not even the most indefinite and therefore the only one that styles itself in German, the "Progress"-party. There we see nothing but a clash of interests, whose object is common to all the disputants, common and ignoble: plainly the side most strongly organized, i.e. the most unscrupulous, will bear away the prize. With all our comprehensive State- and National-Economy, it would seem that we are victims to a dream now flattering, now terrifying, and finally asphyxiating: all are panting to awake therefrom; but it is the dream's peculiarity that, so long as it enmeshes us, we take it for real life, and fight against our wakening as though we fought with death. At last one crowning horror gives the tortured wretch the needful strength: he wakes, and what he held most real was but a figment of the d‘mon of distraught mankind.
What was infinitely more valuable to Wagner, and what excited his gratitude to even more superlative utterance, was the confidence which Liszt showed in his genius, and without which, it is no exaggeration to say, Wagner?s greatest works would probably have remained unwritten.
The word "deutsch" is also found in the verb "deuten" (to make plain): thus "deutsch" is what is plain to us, the familiar, the wonted, that which was inherited from our fathers and springs from our very own soil.
Then came the Students' Association. The League of Virtue was founded. All so fantastic that no human being could grasp it. But I did. Now it is me no one grasps: I am the most German being, I am the German spirit. Question the incomparable magic of my works, compare them with the rest: and you can, for the present, say no differently than that - it is German. But what is this German? It must be something wonderful, mustn't it, for it is humanly finer than all else? - Oh heavens! It should have a soil, this German! I should be able to find my people! What a glorious people it ought to become. But to this people only could I belong. -
This is Alberich's dream come true ? Nibelheim, world dominion, activity, work, everywhere the oppressive feeling of steam and fog.
This possibility, of always drawing from the pristine fount of our own nature, that makes us feel ourselves no more a race, no mere variety of man, but one of Manhood's primal branches, ? 'tis this that ever has bestowed on us great men and spiritual heroes, as to whom we have no need to trouble whether fashioners of foreign fatherless civilizations are able to understand and prize them; whilst we again, inspired by the deeds and gifts of our forefathers, and gazing with unclouded eye, are able to rightly estimate those foreigners, and value them according to the spirit of pure Humanity indwelling in their work.
Today we need only faithfully to expound the myth of Oedipus according to its inmost essence, and in it we win an intelligible picture of the whole history of mankind, from the beginnings of Society to the inevitable downfall of the State. The necessity of this downfall is, in the mythos, merely foreshadowed: it is the part of actual history (die wirkliche Geschichte) to accomplish it.
We are bound someday to reach a point, in the contest between French civilization and the German spirit, where it will become a question of the continuance of the German Princes. If the German Princes are not the faithful guardians of the German spirit; if, consciously or unconsciously, they help French civilization to triumph over that German spirit, so woefully misprised and disregarded by them: then their days are numbered, let the fiat come from here or there.
I know of only one composer who measures up to Beethoven, and that is Bruckner.
Singing is the highest passion in excited speech, music is the language of passion.
I wish I could score everything for horns.
Stability is therefore the intrinsic tendency of the State... The embodied voucher for this fundamental law is the Monarch. In no State is there a weightier law than that which centres its stability in the supreme hereditary power of one particular family... Personally he has naught in common with the interests of parties, but his sole concern is that the conflict of these interests should be adjusted, precisely for the safety of the whole. His sphere is therefore equity, and where this is unattainable, the exercise of grace (Gnade). Thus, as against the party interests, he is the representative of purely-human interests, and in the eyes of the party-seeking citizen he therefore occupies in truth a position well-nigh superhuman.
In order to see the Performer and the Poet take natural rise, we must first imagine to ourselves the artistic Fellowship of the future; and that according to no arbitrary canon, but following the logical course which we are bound to take in drawing from the Art-work itself our conclusions as to those artistic organs which alone can call it into natural life.
The birth of the new German spirit brought with it the rebirth of the German people: the German War of Liberation of 1813, 1814 and 1815 suddenly familiarized us with this people.
It is necessary for us to explain the involuntary repugnance we possess for the nature and personality of the Jews? The Jews have never produced a true poet. Heinrich Heine reached the point where he duped himself into a poet, and was rewarded by his versified lies being set to music by our own composers. He was the conscience of Judaism, just as Judaism is the evil conscience of our modern civilization.
The Italian made as much of the Antique his own, as he could copy and remodel; the Frenchman borrowed from this remodeling, in his turn, whatever caressed his national sense for elegance of Form: the German was the first to apprehend its purely-human originality... Through its inmost understanding of the Antique, the German spirit arrived at the capability of restoring the Purely-human itself to its pristine freedom; not employing the antique form to display a certain given `stuff', but molding the necessary new form itself through an employment of the antique conception of the world.
It is very common for the patriot to quote his country's name in a spirit of total veneration. The more powerful a people, however, the less store it seems to set by referring to itself with such a degree of reverence. I have no doubt that it is far less common in public life in England and France for people to speak of `English' and `French virtues', whereas the Germans frequently refer to `German depth', `German seriousness', `German fidelity' and so on.
The most tremendous genius raised Mozart above all masters, in all centuries and in all the arts.
It should not be presumed that these people (the Jews), who are so separated from us by their religion, have any right to make our laws. But why blame the Jews? It is we who lack all feeling for our own identity, all sense of honor.
The Orchestra is, so to speak, the loam of endless, universal Feeling, from which the individual feeling of the separate actor draws power to shoot aloft to fullest height of growth: it, in a sense, dissolves the hard immobile ground of the actual scene into a fluent, elastic, impressionable ether, whose unmeasured bottom is the great sea of Feeling itself.
It was Germany's incalculable misfortune that at about the time that the German spirit had reached a point of sufficient maturity to be finally able to confront the challenge that faced it in that sublime field, the German peoples' legitimate state interests were entrusted to the counsels of a prince to whom the German spirit was utterly alien, a man who was the most perfect embodiment of an un-German, Romance concept of the state.
The organ for all understanding of Nature, is Man: the landscape-painter had not only to impart to men this understanding, but to make it for the first time plain to them by depicting Man in the midst of Nature.
It was Schopenhauer who first defined the position of Music among the fine arts with philosophic clearness, ascribing to it a totally different nature from that of either plastic or poetic art. He starts from wonder at Music's speaking a language immediately intelligible by everyone, since it needs no whit of intermediation through abstract concepts (Begriffe); which completely distinguishes it from Poetry, in the first place, whose sole material consists of concepts, employed by it to visualise the Idea.