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Vaughan Williams on Music$
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David Manning

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182392.001.0001

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The Words of Wagner’s Music Dramas

The Words of Wagner’s Music Dramas

Chapter:
(p.133) Chapter 29 The Words of Wagner’s Music Dramas
Source:
Vaughan Williams on Music
Author(s):

David Manning

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182392.003.0030

This chapter discusses the relation between words and music in Richard Wagner's musical dramas. It is the general custom to describe Wagner's art as “complex.” Now, complexity implies the joining together of two or more factors. If one looks for the opinion of the Wagner Society, one comes to the conclusion that he is a sort of “Jack of all trades and master of none,” being at once a poet, a philosopher, a religious teacher, and an anti-vivisectionist, besides being, by the way, quite a good composer; surely such a hotch-potch of qualities as these could never be the characteristics of a great artist. The more general opinion, however—the safe, journalistic opinion—is that Wagner is a “poet-composer”; that is, a poet and composer in equal quantities.

Keywords:   words, music, Richard Wagner, musical dramas, Wagner Society

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