[f_minor] Fw: off-track

Pat pzumst at bluewin.ch
Thu May 30 15:26:13 MDT 2013

Dear all

Michael, I have found the essay online and of course to a degree he is right. And wrong. I dunno...

Especially in the german-speaking world (being Swiss I am a part of that small spot) the subject of Wagner is, er, laden with history. People outside of that world may have a more relaxed attitude towards Wagner, but at least Germans are very sensitive about artists like Wagner, Furtwängler, von Karajan, Strauss etc. and their backlog.

The whole subject gets even a bit weirder when one considers that the musical works of Wagner were deeply admired by Mahler or Klemperer and there are (jewish) intellectuals like Stephen Fry (former judge for the GG Prize) and Daniel Barenboim actually defending Wagner’s music – but not the person of curse. 

And apparently there is even a Wagner Appreciation Society in Israel, who would have thought ? Maestro Barenboim recently caused a very nasty and lout storm when he tried to perform some Overtures in Jerusalem, where Wagner still is persona non grata. Classical Music and Politics ? I dunno....

Here is part of a conversation between Baranboim and the late Edward Said, also an intellectual heavyweight in his own right in case y’all are still interested in the matter:

It is my understanding that Mr. Gould had a strong interest in Wagner (see the transcript record) at the beginning of the 80s, who knows what he would have come up with later on, maybe even as conductor ? Alas, we will never know. Dead at 50, too many pills.


From: michael macelletti 
Sent: Sunday, May 26, 2013 12:30 AM
To: Discussion of the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould. 
Subject: Re: [f_minor] Fw: off-track

a very good question, for which,  as with seeming all others, i have absolutely no answer.  however,  please read :  the monster by deems taylor . the essay has been around for a long time.    but as far as providing an answer to the question you posed, i think we both might need some help. 

From: Pat <pzumst at bluewin.ch>
To: f minor <f_minor at glenngould.org>
Sent: Sat, May 25, 2013 2:59:12 PM
Subject: Re: [f_minor] Fw: off-track

Hi all

Good thinking there, presenting GG-related music in the dry season.

I have a moral question. Richard Wagner was an arrogant, antisemitic, cheating, wife-beating, pompous, self-grandizing, money-wasting and mostly overrated little git and in short a very nasty piece of work. His music is pompous, bombastic to the extreme, far too loud at times, far too long for sure and the words...this might be fun if you are an english speaker, but I understand the native tongue...

Yet...Wagner is one of the most influential (and controversial !) composers of the last 150 years. Without him there would be no Mahler, maybe no Strawinsky and definetly no Heavy Metal. And, I am ashamed to say, some of his Overtures actually rock...

What should one do in such a situation ? Continue to love to hate that composer or try to get into the whole Ring Thing anyway ?

I assume that GG was fond of Wagner for purely musicological and artistic reasons, but is that enough to justify a Wagner transcription ?

Speaking of, here is some fun with Wagner


From: michael macelletti 
Sent: Saturday, May 25, 2013 8:20 PM
To: f minor 
Subject: [f_minor] Fw: off-track

Subject: off-track

things have been a bit quiet lately, so i thought i'd make a listening recommendation, albeit somewhat off-track. the new remastered solti  wagner  ring , in the super deluxe edition, is really fabulous.  ( " greatest recording of all time ",  bbc music magazine 2012 . )    truly a win-win.   although a little pricey ,  it'll probably soon be out of print anyway.   and maybe this isn't so off-subject.  gould's wagner interpretations are not too far removed in spirit from the great bayreuth festspielhause conductors such as knappertsbusch and furtwangler  from the '50's.  he must have been familiar with their recordings.                              

( and horowitz probably wouldn't have liked their wagner either, i bet.  )



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