Classical Music/Richard Wagner



I love the music of  Richard Wagner. However, everytime I mention this to friends, I'm told that Wagner was an  anti-semitic nazi and  Hitler's favourite composer. Can you  refer me to anything that  could use to challenge this  myth.



I wish I could help you more, but your friends are largely correct.  It is not a myth.  Wagner was an anti-Semite who blamed all the ills in the arts on Jewish management, although nearly all of his works were premiered by the same people he hated.  His essay "Judaism in Music" is a good introduction to these views.  Wagner is a complicated character in this regard.  

Wagner was no Nazi, since the National Socialist Party in Germany was not yet in existence during his lifetime.  As for Hitler's idolization of Wagner, it is completely true.  One of the things he had in the bunker with him during his final days was a manuscript copy of "Twilight of the Gods," the last music drama of "The Ring of the Nibelungs."

Perhaps what is most difficult about Wagner is weighing his personal weaknesses against his musical largesse.  His music is astounding, but his political philosophy is repugnant.  I think it is possible to separate them and enjoy his musical genius on its own.  Your friends should open their ears.

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Craig Doolin


I can answer any questions about classical music, including opera, early music, instruments, and music theory. I have a special interest in experimental or modern music.


I have a masters in musicology and have completed all but my dissertation in Ph.D. studies at the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music.

I have written program notes for orchestras and opera companies throughout the US.

I have a BME in music education from Morehead State University in KY, a MA in music history from Marshall University in WV, and am working on a Ph.D. at the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music.

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San Antonio Symphony Orchestra, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, University of Southern California, University of South Carolina, Columbus (GA) Symphony Orchestra, Lucca Opera Festival (Italy), Bay Atlantic Symphony (NJ), Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic, Cascade Symphony, Lincoln (NE) Symphony, Boise Philharmonic, Augusta (GA) Symphony, Chattanooga Symphony & Opera, Pine Bluff (AR) Symphony

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