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Wagner on Conducting
Wagner initiated the Romantic image of the conductor as a fiery, omniscient dictator of the podium. This work collects his eloquent essays on role of the conductor, musical interpretation, and many other topics. Originally printed in 1887, it remains an exciting and valid resource for the modern reader.
Paperback, 128 pages
Published March 1st 1989 by Dover Publications
(first published June 1st 1940)
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When reading this book, one must remember to take what Wagner says in context, that the world was very different 130 years ago, as was conducting back then. It should also be noted that the contents were originally written as newspaper articles, and to some degrees, were conversations and arguments with other critics. Nonetheless, the comments Wagner made were enlightening, and the book provides valuable insights into how things we consider to be basics - dynamics, tempo changes, choice of tempo ...more
Wagner makes good comments about the necessity for historically appropriate tempos, as well as the need historically proper musical interpretation, but I found this manual to be mostly an excuse to point out that Mendelssohn was not a good conductor, Schumann wrote pieces he hadn't the talent to write, and nobody conducts as well as the author. Wagner is known for being frank, but this manual, for me, is a little over the top. Especially the chapter when he blames the Jews for stealing the cultu ...more
It is interesting to read a famous composer's own words about music. But, in this treatise on conducting, he talked almost exclusively about speed in music. He pointed out numerous examples where he thought a different composer (mostly Mendelssohn) conducted a piece at the wrong tempo, either too quickly or too slowly. But, as he didn't mention any metronome markings as to what the correct tempi should be, and we don't have any recordings of his own personal interpretations of the pieces, it's h ...more
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director and essayist, primarily known for his operas (or "music dramas", as they were later called). Unlike most other great opera composers, Wagner wrote both the scenario and libretto for his works.More about Richard Wagner...