Food for thought-- - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • IW
    • 26.10.10 | 08:54 (IST)

    While personally very familiar with and enamored of Wagner's works, I never forget the following: that when Wagner, himself a conductor, found himself unable to resist popular pressure to conduct Mendelsohn's music, he would conduct it in white gloves which, after conducting the piece, he then ceremoniously took off, and dropped on the floor. Further, his operas are replete with anti-Semitic tropes and stereotypes, and if I laugh at Beckmesser in Meistersinger it is with a catch in my throat, knowing it is Wagner's caricature of a Jew, and his whiny music Wagner's caricature of Jewish singsong. The Ring also has its share. Finally I recommend to all "Winifred Wagner: A Life at the Heart of Hitler's Bayreuth" by Brigitte Hamann to more fully understand the central role of Wagner and Wagnerism in Hitler's pantheon. Wagner was a central component of Hitler's megalomaniacal and racist inspiration whom Hitler approached with an overt mystical and religious reverence. This is all aside from Wagner's own overt anti-Semitism which was a clear intellectual forebear of Nazi racist ideology. So the issue is not a simple one when it comes to official Israeli artistic endeavors, notwithstanding the important role Wagner may play in musical history or indeed in the musical tastes of individuals.

    from the article: Just a bit of Sturm und Drang
    First published 00:55 25.10.10 | Last updated 00:55 25.10.10
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