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The Philosophy of Schopenhauer$
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Bryan Magee

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198237228

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198237227.001.0001

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Schopenhauer and Wagner

Schopenhauer and Wagner

Chapter:
(p.350) Chapter 17 Schopenhauer and Wagner
Source:
The Philosophy of Schopenhauer
Author(s):

Bryan Magee

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198237227.003.0017

Outstanding among the many creative artists on whom Schopenhauer exercised influence was the opera composer Richard Wagner (1813–83), who, rarely for a composer, was an intellectual and studied Schopenhauer's philosophy seriously. He was already composing operas in accordance with a published theory of his own, which involved treating all its constituent elements as of equal importance. Schopenhauer persuaded him to accept not only hitherto rejected metaphysical ideas but also the supremacy of music over the other arts. In response, Wagner composed works such as Tristan and Isolde and Parsifal whose libretti are pervaded with Schopenhauer's ideas and whose music dominates the opera. Although the first of these Schopenhauerian works, Tristan and Isolde, was published in 1859, and therefore before Schopenhauer's death in 1860, it is virtually certain that he never knew of its existence.

Keywords:   Parsifal, Schopenhauer, Tristan and Isolde, Wagner

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