Discussion:
First on line through the gate
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C.Z.
2017-11-17 15:29:08 UTC
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Lately the topic of valuing the art of an artist who is not a good person in one way or another is newly current, with all the sexual abuse interwoven through the worlds of politics, entertainment and media. Love the art or leave it? Though Wagner was not a sex abuser, his shortcomings as a person are plain. But I can think of no other artist for whom this moral conundrum is so easily solved. I don't have any trouble doing without Woody Allen's films. To do without Wagner's music is unthinkable.
REP
2017-11-17 20:36:15 UTC
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Post by C.Z.
Lately the topic of valuing the art of an artist who is not a good person in one way or another is newly current, with all the sexual abuse interwoven through the worlds of politics, entertainment and media. Love the art or leave it? Though Wagner was not a sex abuser, his shortcomings as a person are plain. But I can think of no other artist for whom this moral conundrum is so easily solved. I don't have any trouble doing without Woody Allen's films. To do without Wagner's music is unthinkable.
Everyone has a right to decide for themselves whether they can stomach the artistic creations of someone they find morally reprehensible. If someone enjoys watching a movie directed by a sexual predator, for example, then I say leave them to it. It's far more objectionable to shame them for doing so.

REP
Mike Scott Rohan
2017-11-19 00:48:49 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by C.Z.
Lately the topic of valuing the art of an artist who is not a good person in one way or another is newly current, with all the sexual abuse interwoven through the worlds of politics, entertainment and media. Love the art or leave it? Though Wagner was not a sex abuser, his shortcomings as a person are plain. But I can think of no other artist for whom this moral conundrum is so easily solved. I don't have any trouble doing without Woody Allen's films. To do without Wagner's music is unthinkable.
I would be deeply surprised to find a great creator of any sort who was a wholly "good" person. We all have our faults and weaknesses, and the expressive effort of creativity tends to intensify and magnify them -- as does the necessary egotism and self-belief. There are always exceptions, of course; by all accounts Shakespeare was a quiet, pleasant man. Yet even so, he's named in a lawsuit as presenting a threat to the plaintiff's life; he was possibly rather near with money, and left unpaid city taxes; and his relations with his wife are debatable. How would he have appeared through the tabloids today?

Cheers,

Mike
C.Z.
2017-11-19 18:33:11 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by C.Z.
Lately the topic of valuing the art of an artist who is not a good person in one way or another is newly current, with all the sexual abuse interwoven through the worlds of politics, entertainment and media. Love the art or leave it? Though Wagner was not a sex abuser, his shortcomings as a person are plain. But I can think of no other artist for whom this moral conundrum is so easily solved. I don't have any trouble doing without Woody Allen's films. To do without Wagner's music is unthinkable.
Shakespeare has also been accused of hoarding grain during a time of widespread hunger, if I'm not mistaken.

It is interesting to me how I despise Degas and Chopin for their antisemitism but forgive Wagner his, and Cezanne his.
Mike Scott Rohan
2017-11-20 16:05:04 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by C.Z.
Post by C.Z.
Lately the topic of valuing the art of an artist who is not a good person in one way or another is newly current, with all the sexual abuse interwoven through the worlds of politics, entertainment and media. Love the art or leave it? Though Wagner was not a sex abuser, his shortcomings as a person are plain. But I can think of no other artist for whom this moral conundrum is so easily solved. I don't have any trouble doing without Woody Allen's films. To do without Wagner's music is unthinkable.
Shakespeare has also been accused of hoarding grain during a time of widespread hunger, if I'm not mistaken.
It is interesting to me how I despise Degas and Chopin for their antisemitism but forgive Wagner his, and Cezanne his.
I'm supposed to be fairly well up on Shakespeare, but I don't remember that one. He did invest in tithe rights, but they were mostly financial by that time and had little direct relevance to produce. Beyond that his dealings were chiefly in property. From a neighbour's correspondence he seems to have promised money to support the opposition to some land enclosure round Stratford, but the writer comments to the effect that he'll believe that when he sees it... Mind you, there's occasionally a speck of truth in among the old traditions. John Shakespeare, his glover father, was supposed to have been a wool-dealer, but this was discounted because it would have been against trade laws. And then not so long ago they found records of a dispute with him over a large quantity of wool.

I myself don't feel I can exactly forgive anti-semitism in Wagner or anyone else -- I didn't know about Degas or Cezanne, but it doesn't surprise me. But it's something that can be understood in context, at least, especially in their backgrounds, upbringing and religion for example -- coming from a strongly Roman Catholic country, as did Chopin, or a somewhat provincial German one, as did Wagner, where such prejudice was more or less culturally embedded. France was nominally more liberal, but the nobility, for example, to which Cosima belonged, remained very bigoted.

Cheers,

Mike
Herman van der Woude
2017-11-20 16:51:22 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by C.Z.
Post by C.Z.
Lately the topic of valuing the art of an artist who is not a good person
in one way or another is newly current, with all the sexual abuse
interwoven through the worlds of politics, entertainment and media. Love
the art or leave it? Though Wagner was not a sex abuser, his shortcomings
as a person are plain. But I can think of no other artist for whom this
moral conundrum is so easily solved. I don't have any trouble doing without
Woody Allen's films. To do without Wagner's music is unthinkable.
Shakespeare has also been accused of hoarding grain during a time of
widespread hunger, if I'm not mistaken.
It is interesting to me how I despise Degas and Chopin for their
antisemitism but forgive Wagner his, and Cezanne his.
I'm supposed to be fairly well up on Shakespeare, but I don't remember that
one. He did invest in tithe rights, but they were mostly financial by that
time and had little direct relevance to produce. Beyond that his dealings
were chiefly in property. From a neighbour's correspondence he seems to have
promised money to support the opposition to some land enclosure round
Stratford, but the writer comments to the effect that he'll believe that when
he sees it... Mind you, there's occasionally a speck of truth in among the
old traditions. John Shakespeare, his glover father, was supposed to have
been a wool-dealer, but this was discounted because it would have been
against trade laws. And then not so long ago they found records of a dispute
with him over a large quantity of wool.
I myself don't feel I can exactly forgive anti-semitism in Wagner or anyone
else -- I didn't know about Degas or Cezanne, but it doesn't surprise me. But
it's something that can be understood in context, at least, especially in
their backgrounds, upbringing and religion for example -- coming from a
strongly Roman Catholic country, as did Chopin, or a somewhat provincial
German one, as did Wagner, where such prejudice was more or less culturally
embedded. France was nominally more liberal, but the nobility, for example,
to which Cosima belonged, remained very bigoted.
Cheers,
Mike
In particular for France, don't forget the Dreyfus case in which
anti-semitism played a huge role. France in the 19th century was - like
Poland still is today - a very Roman Catholic country in which Jews
were commonly believed to be God murderers, and not only by local, not
very educated priests. Most intellectuals considered the Jews a 'lower
form of mankind', even if they had achieved something in society
(Meyerbeer, Rothschild). Over all, one can say that anti-semitism was
normal in the 19th century, all over the world, even in my own little
country, the Netherlands.
The great change how the world thought about Jews came only after World
War II, and only because of the knowledge what the Nazis had done with
the Jews. My father, who was absolutely not anti-semitic, could still
say (not so very) funny things about Jews, even after the war, not
realising that he was discriminating them, or saying something about
"Negroes in Africa who were not yet up to independence", without
meaning to harm anyone. The human mind is strange.

I don't like anti-semitism at all, and I don't like Wagner's
anti-semitism, or Chopin's or Degas' or Cezanne's, but I do try to see
it in it's context the times and societies they lived in. No one in the
19th century wished what the Nazis did, the extermination of the
'Jewish race' only because they were Jews. I have never heard anything
anti-semitic in Wagner's music, nor in Chopin's music or seen anything
like that in the paintings of Degas and Cezanne.
--
Met vriendelijke groet,
Cheers,
Herman van der Woude
Mike Scott Rohan
2017-11-28 14:54:15 UTC
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Post by Herman van der Woude
Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by C.Z.
Post by C.Z.
Lately the topic of valuing the art of an artist who is not a good person
in one way or another is newly current, with all the sexual abuse
interwoven through the worlds of politics, entertainment and media. Love
the art or leave it? Though Wagner was not a sex abuser, his shortcomings
as a person are plain. But I can think of no other artist for whom this
moral conundrum is so easily solved. I don't have any trouble doing without
Woody Allen's films. To do without Wagner's music is unthinkable.
Shakespeare has also been accused of hoarding grain during a time of
widespread hunger, if I'm not mistaken.
It is interesting to me how I despise Degas and Chopin for their
antisemitism but forgive Wagner his, and Cezanne his.
I'm supposed to be fairly well up on Shakespeare, but I don't remember that
one. He did invest in tithe rights, but they were mostly financial by that
time and had little direct relevance to produce. Beyond that his dealings
were chiefly in property. From a neighbour's correspondence he seems to have
promised money to support the opposition to some land enclosure round
Stratford, but the writer comments to the effect that he'll believe that when
he sees it... Mind you, there's occasionally a speck of truth in among the
old traditions. John Shakespeare, his glover father, was supposed to have
been a wool-dealer, but this was discounted because it would have been
against trade laws. And then not so long ago they found records of a dispute
with him over a large quantity of wool.
I myself don't feel I can exactly forgive anti-semitism in Wagner or anyone
else -- I didn't know about Degas or Cezanne, but it doesn't surprise me. But
it's something that can be understood in context, at least, especially in
their backgrounds, upbringing and religion for example -- coming from a
strongly Roman Catholic country, as did Chopin, or a somewhat provincial
German one, as did Wagner, where such prejudice was more or less culturally
embedded. France was nominally more liberal, but the nobility, for example,
to which Cosima belonged, remained very bigoted.
Cheers,
Mike
In particular for France, don't forget the Dreyfus case in which
anti-semitism played a huge role. France in the 19th century was - like
Poland still is today - a very Roman Catholic country in which Jews
were commonly believed to be God murderers, and not only by local, not
very educated priests. Most intellectuals considered the Jews a 'lower
form of mankind', even if they had achieved something in society
(Meyerbeer, Rothschild). Over all, one can say that anti-semitism was
normal in the 19th century, all over the world, even in my own little
country, the Netherlands.
The great change how the world thought about Jews came only after World
War II, and only because of the knowledge what the Nazis had done with
the Jews. My father, who was absolutely not anti-semitic, could still
say (not so very) funny things about Jews, even after the war, not
realising that he was discriminating them, or saying something about
"Negroes in Africa who were not yet up to independence", without
meaning to harm anyone. The human mind is strange.
I don't like anti-semitism at all, and I don't like Wagner's
anti-semitism, or Chopin's or Degas' or Cezanne's, but I do try to see
it in it's context the times and societies they lived in. No one in the
19th century wished what the Nazis did, the extermination of the
'Jewish race' only because they were Jews. I have never heard anything
anti-semitic in Wagner's music, nor in Chopin's music or seen anything
like that in the paintings of Degas and Cezanne.
--
Met vriendelijke groet,
Cheers,
Herman van der Woude
Very true. The Dreyfus case originated with the aristocratic establishment, in which Dreyfus was an outsider; although it must be said that it wasn't originally his Jewishness, but more his Alsatian origins and hence "German" connections, which made him a convenient scapegoat. It was when these military idiots started trying to cover up their injustice that militant nationalists latched onto the affair, and the militant anti-semites (until then relatively few) latched onto them in turn, turning what had been fairly casual, latent dislike or distrust of Jews -- "normal" at that time, as you say -- into a patriotic cause. Not too dissimilar, in fact, to what happened in Germany soon afterwards.

I know what you mean about your father's reactions. We're all prisoners of our time and assumptions. My grandfather, a Franco-British colonial born well into the 19th century, had nothing against Jews, and favoured the natives of the colony he lived in, but had grave doubts about educating them "too quickly". I had a pretty liberal upbringing, and I agree WWII made all the difference. It made all but the most determined bigots confront their prejudices. I went to school with the children of Jewish refugees, and hardly gave their race or religion a thought -- except as those lucky sods who didn't have to get in in time for prayers. So much so, I offered one a ham sandwich by mistake, and cringed when I realized it.

I agree that few people in the 19th century wanted a general pogrom, but it's never too hard to turn latent prejudice into its more violent form, especially if its object becomes a general, dehumanized threat -- "the international Jewish conspiracy", "Zionist conspiracy" and so on. That kind of "tagging" is what worries me about some areas of politics today. Wagner found it easy to attack "the Jews" while still being very attached to Jewish people, and there are signs he increasingly realized the contradiction inherent in this; but being what he was, and married to Cosima, he wouldn't admit it outright.

Cheers,

Mike
m***@gmail.com
2017-11-28 23:07:50 UTC
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Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by Herman van der Woude
Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by C.Z.
Post by C.Z.
Lately the topic of valuing the art of an artist who is not a good person
in one way or another is newly current, with all the sexual abuse
interwoven through the worlds of politics, entertainment and media. Love
the art or leave it? Though Wagner was not a sex abuser, his shortcomings
as a person are plain. But I can think of no other artist for whom this
moral conundrum is so easily solved. I don't have any trouble doing without
Woody Allen's films. To do without Wagner's music is unthinkable.
Shakespeare has also been accused of hoarding grain during a time of
widespread hunger, if I'm not mistaken.
It is interesting to me how I despise Degas and Chopin for their
antisemitism but forgive Wagner his, and Cezanne his.
I'm supposed to be fairly well up on Shakespeare, but I don't remember that
one. He did invest in tithe rights, but they were mostly financial by that
time and had little direct relevance to produce. Beyond that his dealings
were chiefly in property. From a neighbour's correspondence he seems to have
promised money to support the opposition to some land enclosure round
Stratford, but the writer comments to the effect that he'll believe that when
he sees it... Mind you, there's occasionally a speck of truth in among the
old traditions. John Shakespeare, his glover father, was supposed to have
been a wool-dealer, but this was discounted because it would have been
against trade laws. And then not so long ago they found records of a dispute
with him over a large quantity of wool.
I myself don't feel I can exactly forgive anti-semitism in Wagner or anyone
else -- I didn't know about Degas or Cezanne, but it doesn't surprise me. But
it's something that can be understood in context, at least, especially in
their backgrounds, upbringing and religion for example -- coming from a
strongly Roman Catholic country, as did Chopin, or a somewhat provincial
German one, as did Wagner, where such prejudice was more or less culturally
embedded. France was nominally more liberal, but the nobility, for example,
to which Cosima belonged, remained very bigoted.
Cheers,
Mike
In particular for France, don't forget the Dreyfus case in which
anti-semitism played a huge role. France in the 19th century was - like
Poland still is today - a very Roman Catholic country in which Jews
were commonly believed to be God murderers, and not only by local, not
very educated priests. Most intellectuals considered the Jews a 'lower
form of mankind', even if they had achieved something in society
(Meyerbeer, Rothschild). Over all, one can say that anti-semitism was
normal in the 19th century, all over the world, even in my own little
country, the Netherlands.
The great change how the world thought about Jews came only after World
War II, and only because of the knowledge what the Nazis had done with
the Jews. My father, who was absolutely not anti-semitic, could still
say (not so very) funny things about Jews, even after the war, not
realising that he was discriminating them, or saying something about
"Negroes in Africa who were not yet up to independence", without
meaning to harm anyone. The human mind is strange.
I don't like anti-semitism at all, and I don't like Wagner's
anti-semitism, or Chopin's or Degas' or Cezanne's, but I do try to see
it in it's context the times and societies they lived in. No one in the
19th century wished what the Nazis did, the extermination of the
'Jewish race' only because they were Jews. I have never heard anything
anti-semitic in Wagner's music, nor in Chopin's music or seen anything
like that in the paintings of Degas and Cezanne.
--
Met vriendelijke groet,
Cheers,
Herman van der Woude
Very true. The Dreyfus case originated with the aristocratic establishment, in which Dreyfus was an outsider; although it must be said that it wasn't originally his Jewishness, but more his Alsatian origins and hence "German" connections, which made him a convenient scapegoat. It was when these military idiots started trying to cover up their injustice that militant nationalists latched onto the affair, and the militant anti-semites (until then relatively few) latched onto them in turn, turning what had been fairly casual, latent dislike or distrust of Jews -- "normal" at that time, as you say -- into a patriotic cause. Not too dissimilar, in fact, to what happened in Germany soon afterwards.
I know what you mean about your father's reactions. We're all prisoners of our time and assumptions. My grandfather, a Franco-British colonial born well into the 19th century, had nothing against Jews, and favoured the natives of the colony he lived in, but had grave doubts about educating them "too quickly". I had a pretty liberal upbringing, and I agree WWII made all the difference. It made all but the most determined bigots confront their prejudices. I went to school with the children of Jewish refugees, and hardly gave their race or religion a thought -- except as those lucky sods who didn't have to get in in time for prayers. So much so, I offered one a ham sandwich by mistake, and cringed when I realized it.
I agree that few people in the 19th century wanted a general pogrom, but it's never too hard to turn latent prejudice into its more violent form, especially if its object becomes a general, dehumanized threat -- "the international Jewish conspiracy", "Zionist conspiracy" and so on. That kind of "tagging" is what worries me about some areas of politics today. Wagner found it easy to attack "the Jews" while still being very attached to Jewish people, and there are signs he increasingly realized the contradiction inherent in this; but being what he was, and married to Cosima, he wouldn't admit it outright.
Cheers,
Mike
That's interesting and reminds me of a friend who sent me a tract Wagner wrote after Judentum where there was a sentence which convinced him that Wagner actually would have condoned more violent means against the Jews. I can try to look up the reference to which he was referring but there was a very ambiguous line in it that he latched onto though I tried to convince him otherwise
Mike Scott Rohan
2017-11-30 14:44:45 UTC
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Post by m***@gmail.com
Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by Herman van der Woude
Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by C.Z.
Post by C.Z.
Lately the topic of valuing the art of an artist who is not a good person
in one way or another is newly current, with all the sexual abuse
interwoven through the worlds of politics, entertainment and media. Love
the art or leave it? Though Wagner was not a sex abuser, his shortcomings
as a person are plain. But I can think of no other artist for whom this
moral conundrum is so easily solved. I don't have any trouble doing without
Woody Allen's films. To do without Wagner's music is unthinkable.
Shakespeare has also been accused of hoarding grain during a time of
widespread hunger, if I'm not mistaken.
It is interesting to me how I despise Degas and Chopin for their
antisemitism but forgive Wagner his, and Cezanne his.
I'm supposed to be fairly well up on Shakespeare, but I don't remember that
one. He did invest in tithe rights, but they were mostly financial by that
time and had little direct relevance to produce. Beyond that his dealings
were chiefly in property. From a neighbour's correspondence he seems to have
promised money to support the opposition to some land enclosure round
Stratford, but the writer comments to the effect that he'll believe that when
he sees it... Mind you, there's occasionally a speck of truth in among the
old traditions. John Shakespeare, his glover father, was supposed to have
been a wool-dealer, but this was discounted because it would have been
against trade laws. And then not so long ago they found records of a dispute
with him over a large quantity of wool.
I myself don't feel I can exactly forgive anti-semitism in Wagner or anyone
else -- I didn't know about Degas or Cezanne, but it doesn't surprise me. But
it's something that can be understood in context, at least, especially in
their backgrounds, upbringing and religion for example -- coming from a
strongly Roman Catholic country, as did Chopin, or a somewhat provincial
German one, as did Wagner, where such prejudice was more or less culturally
embedded. France was nominally more liberal, but the nobility, for example,
to which Cosima belonged, remained very bigoted.
Cheers,
Mike
In particular for France, don't forget the Dreyfus case in which
anti-semitism played a huge role. France in the 19th century was - like
Poland still is today - a very Roman Catholic country in which Jews
were commonly believed to be God murderers, and not only by local, not
very educated priests. Most intellectuals considered the Jews a 'lower
form of mankind', even if they had achieved something in society
(Meyerbeer, Rothschild). Over all, one can say that anti-semitism was
normal in the 19th century, all over the world, even in my own little
country, the Netherlands.
The great change how the world thought about Jews came only after World
War II, and only because of the knowledge what the Nazis had done with
the Jews. My father, who was absolutely not anti-semitic, could still
say (not so very) funny things about Jews, even after the war, not
realising that he was discriminating them, or saying something about
"Negroes in Africa who were not yet up to independence", without
meaning to harm anyone. The human mind is strange.
I don't like anti-semitism at all, and I don't like Wagner's
anti-semitism, or Chopin's or Degas' or Cezanne's, but I do try to see
it in it's context the times and societies they lived in. No one in the
19th century wished what the Nazis did, the extermination of the
'Jewish race' only because they were Jews. I have never heard anything
anti-semitic in Wagner's music, nor in Chopin's music or seen anything
like that in the paintings of Degas and Cezanne.
--
Met vriendelijke groet,
Cheers,
Herman van der Woude
Very true. The Dreyfus case originated with the aristocratic establishment, in which Dreyfus was an outsider; although it must be said that it wasn't originally his Jewishness, but more his Alsatian origins and hence "German" connections, which made him a convenient scapegoat. It was when these military idiots started trying to cover up their injustice that militant nationalists latched onto the affair, and the militant anti-semites (until then relatively few) latched onto them in turn, turning what had been fairly casual, latent dislike or distrust of Jews -- "normal" at that time, as you say -- into a patriotic cause. Not too dissimilar, in fact, to what happened in Germany soon afterwards.
I know what you mean about your father's reactions. We're all prisoners of our time and assumptions. My grandfather, a Franco-British colonial born well into the 19th century, had nothing against Jews, and favoured the natives of the colony he lived in, but had grave doubts about educating them "too quickly". I had a pretty liberal upbringing, and I agree WWII made all the difference. It made all but the most determined bigots confront their prejudices. I went to school with the children of Jewish refugees, and hardly gave their race or religion a thought -- except as those lucky sods who didn't have to get in in time for prayers. So much so, I offered one a ham sandwich by mistake, and cringed when I realized it.
I agree that few people in the 19th century wanted a general pogrom, but it's never too hard to turn latent prejudice into its more violent form, especially if its object becomes a general, dehumanized threat -- "the international Jewish conspiracy", "Zionist conspiracy" and so on. That kind of "tagging" is what worries me about some areas of politics today. Wagner found it easy to attack "the Jews" while still being very attached to Jewish people, and there are signs he increasingly realized the contradiction inherent in this; but being what he was, and married to Cosima, he wouldn't admit it outright.
Cheers,
Mike
That's interesting and reminds me of a friend who sent me a tract Wagner wrote after Judentum where there was a sentence which convinced him that Wagner actually would have condoned more violent means against the Jews. I can try to look up the reference to which he was referring but there was a very ambiguous line in it that he latched onto though I tried to convince him otherwise
Let us know if you find it -- but was it in German or English? Wagner's language could often be extremely harsh, but not, so far as I know, in advocacy of violence. However his translators, in particular Chamberlain and Ashton Ellis, often gave it a much nastier slant, reflecting their own bigotry (and perhaps also Cosima's). Judenthum suffers from this -- unpleasant enough already, but made worse by its interpretation.

Cheers,

Mike
C.Z.
2018-02-15 02:33:48 UTC
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Raw Message
There is a quote from Wagner which I have seen on the web a few times, which does recommend violence. It is probably from Cosima’s Diaries, but I’ve not been able to find it there. Here it is in a 1984 NY Times article on the opening of an exhibition on “Wagner and the Jews” at Wagner’s home in Bayreuth:

“…Mr. Eger has presented some of Wagner's anti-Semitic writings and comments, including his essay ''Jewry in Music'' and his remark, reported by his wife, that all Jews should burn to death during a performance of Lessing's ''Nathan the Wise.'' Wagner made the comment after hearing of a theater fire in Vienna in 1881, in which 400 people perished.”

http://www.nytimes.com/1984/08/07/arts/at-bayreuth-wagner-and-the-jews.html

Here is another cite of this quote, in a 2013 Speigel article on whether Wagner’s music should be performed in Israel, this time by an admittedly very severe critic of the composer. While he may be exaggerating in his judgment, the Wagner quote is here:

“… He cites as evidence a letter to Cosima, who had told her husband about a fire in a Vienna theater which killed hundreds, half of them Jews, during a performance of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's "Nathan the Wise". Wagner replied: "All Jews should burn to death in a performance of 'Nathan'." "

http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/richard-wagner-a-composer-forever-associated-with-hitler-a-892600-3.html

One could say that this is the sole quoted instance of such a violent opinion, he may have been having a bad day, and make other excuses. However the quote is evidently true and very disturbing.
REP
2018-02-15 03:15:51 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by C.Z.
“…Mr. Eger has presented some of Wagner's anti-Semitic writings and comments, including his essay ''Jewry in Music'' and his remark, reported by his wife, that all Jews should burn to death during a performance of Lessing's ''Nathan the Wise.'' Wagner made the comment after hearing of a theater fire in Vienna in 1881, in which 400 people perished.”
http://www.nytimes.com/1984/08/07/arts/at-bayreuth-wagner-and-the-jews.html
“… He cites as evidence a letter to Cosima, who had told her husband about a fire in a Vienna theater which killed hundreds, half of them Jews, during a performance of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's "Nathan the Wise". Wagner replied: "All Jews should burn to death in a performance of 'Nathan'." "
http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/richard-wagner-a-composer-forever-associated-with-hitler-a-892600-3.html
One could say that this is the sole quoted instance of such a violent opinion, he may have been having a bad day, and make other excuses. However the quote is evidently true and very disturbing.
You will find millions of similar sentiments expressed every day on Twitter -- about Republicans, Democrats, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Whites, Blacks, etc. etc. etc.

REP
m***@gmail.com
2018-02-15 05:08:03 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by C.Z.
“…Mr. Eger has presented some of Wagner's anti-Semitic writings and comments, including his essay ''Jewry in Music'' and his remark, reported by his wife, that all Jews should burn to death during a performance of Lessing's ''Nathan the Wise.'' Wagner made the comment after hearing of a theater fire in Vienna in 1881, in which 400 people perished.”
http://www.nytimes.com/1984/08/07/arts/at-bayreuth-wagner-and-the-jews.html
“… He cites as evidence a letter to Cosima, who had told her husband about a fire in a Vienna theater which killed hundreds, half of them Jews, during a performance of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's "Nathan the Wise". Wagner replied: "All Jews should burn to death in a performance of 'Nathan'." "
http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/richard-wagner-a-composer-forever-associated-with-hitler-a-892600-3.html
One could say that this is the sole quoted instance of such a violent opinion, he may have been having a bad day, and make other excuses. However the quote is evidently true and very disturbing.
This is the problem with taking every single remark of his as some kind of gospel. It was an off hand stupid remark - certainly there is nothing else in his vast writings that would support his wanting Jews trotted off to the gas chamber
m***@gmail.com
2018-02-15 05:13:35 UTC
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Post by C.Z.
“…Mr. Eger has presented some of Wagner's anti-Semitic writings and comments, including his essay ''Jewry in Music'' and his remark, reported by his wife, that all Jews should burn to death during a performance of Lessing's ''Nathan the Wise.'' Wagner made the comment after hearing of a theater fire in Vienna in 1881, in which 400 people perished.”
http://www.nytimes.com/1984/08/07/arts/at-bayreuth-wagner-and-the-jews.html
“… He cites as evidence a letter to Cosima, who had told her husband about a fire in a Vienna theater which killed hundreds, half of them Jews, during a performance of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's "Nathan the Wise". Wagner replied: "All Jews should burn to death in a performance of 'Nathan'." "
http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/richard-wagner-a-composer-forever-associated-with-hitler-a-892600-3.html
One could say that this is the sole quoted instance of such a violent opinion, he may have been having a bad day, and make other excuses. However the quote is evidently true and very disturbing.
This was the famous Ring Theatre fire in Vienna in 1881 which burned during a performance of Tales of Hoffmann. Management errors caused most of the fatalities - fire curtain was not lowered, lights were turned off and other stupid mistakes that caused a panic
C.Z.
2018-02-15 17:44:04 UTC
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Post by C.Z.
“…Mr. Eger has presented some of Wagner's anti-Semitic writings and comments, including his essay ''Jewry in Music'' and his remark, reported by his wife, that all Jews should burn to death during a performance of Lessing's ''Nathan the Wise.'' Wagner made the comment after hearing of a theater fire in Vienna in 1881, in which 400 people perished.”
http://www.nytimes.com/1984/08/07/arts/at-bayreuth-wagner-and-the-jews.html
“… He cites as evidence a letter to Cosima, who had told her husband about a fire in a Vienna theater which killed hundreds, half of them Jews, during a performance of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's "Nathan the Wise". Wagner replied: "All Jews should burn to death in a performance of 'Nathan'." "
http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/richard-wagner-a-composer-forever-associated-with-hitler-a-892600-3.html
One could say that this is the sole quoted instance of such a violent opinion, he may have been having a bad day, and make other excuses. However the quote is evidently true and very disturbing.
This was the famous Ring Theatre fire in Vienna in 1881 which burned during a performance of Tales of Hoffmann. Management errors caused most of the fatalities - fire curtain was not lowered, lights were turned off and other stupid mistakes that caused a panic
But it must be a different fire because it is referred to in both above versions of the quote as a performance of Nathan the Wise.
m***@gmail.com
2018-02-15 21:10:31 UTC
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Post by m***@gmail.com
Post by C.Z.
“…Mr. Eger has presented some of Wagner's anti-Semitic writings and comments, including his essay ''Jewry in Music'' and his remark, reported by his wife, that all Jews should burn to death during a performance of Lessing's ''Nathan the Wise.'' Wagner made the comment after hearing of a theater fire in Vienna in 1881, in which 400 people perished.”
http://www.nytimes.com/1984/08/07/arts/at-bayreuth-wagner-and-the-jews.html
“… He cites as evidence a letter to Cosima, who had told her husband about a fire in a Vienna theater which killed hundreds, half of them Jews, during a performance of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's "Nathan the Wise". Wagner replied: "All Jews should burn to death in a performance of 'Nathan'." "
http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/richard-wagner-a-composer-forever-associated-with-hitler-a-892600-3.html
One could say that this is the sole quoted instance of such a violent opinion, he may have been having a bad day, and make other excuses. However the quote is evidently true and very disturbing.
This was the famous Ring Theatre fire in Vienna in 1881 which burned during a performance of Tales of Hoffmann. Management errors caused most of the fatalities - fire curtain was not lowered, lights were turned off and other stupid mistakes that caused a panic
But it must be a different fire because it is referred to in both above versions of the quote as a performance of Nathan the Wise.
No I think the point he was trying to make is that it would be ironic if it was a performance of Nathan the Wise. Thee was only one fire in 1881 in Vienna that killed hundreds of people - the Ring fire
Mike Scott Rohan
2018-02-15 18:15:41 UTC
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Post by C.Z.
“…Mr. Eger has presented some of Wagner's anti-Semitic writings and comments, including his essay ''Jewry in Music'' and his remark, reported by his wife, that all Jews should burn to death during a performance of Lessing's ''Nathan the Wise.'' Wagner made the comment after hearing of a theater fire in Vienna in 1881, in which 400 people perished.”
http://www.nytimes.com/1984/08/07/arts/at-bayreuth-wagner-and-the-jews.html
“… He cites as evidence a letter to Cosima, who had told her husband about a fire in a Vienna theater which killed hundreds, half of them Jews, during a performance of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's "Nathan the Wise". Wagner replied: "All Jews should burn to death in a performance of 'Nathan'." "
http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/richard-wagner-a-composer-forever-associated-with-hitler-a-892600-3.html
One could say that this is the sole quoted instance of such a violent opinion, he may have been having a bad day, and make other excuses. However the quote is evidently true and very disturbing.
Oh, that one. An old chestnut I've raised here before, and much misused -- for example, by the BBC Composers series, whose presenter spent the entire hour presenting Wagner reasonably, then at the very last moment announced that he had in fact advocated that Jews should all be burned alive. An old trick much favoured by dodgier courtroom lawyers (and actually taught to them, in some cases)-- lull witness into false security, then suddenly launch a horrendous accusation and sit down, leaving him flabbergasted and with no chance to answer and creating a vivid impression in the juror's minds that no subsequent refutation will entirely dispel. They find this convenient when they know their case is going to be -- let's say weak.

So it is with Wagner. The best comparison I've come up with is a remark Solti made on several occasions, one reported by John Culshaw in Ring Resounding -- "All good singers beasts and should be burnt, all bad singers burnt anyway!" Does that mean that Solti actually wanted to go out and put singers to the torch? Of course not. It's a figure of speech, a sour joke of a kind people make a hundred times a day -- "They should sack/jail/blow up the lot of them!". Especially in the morning, over the morning news -- and if I remember rightly, this was Wagner reading the morning paper at breakfast. I don't think even that more instinctive anti-semite Cosima took it seriously.

But of course that doesn't entirely prove he didn't mean it, or half mean it,if only for a moment. Other factors, however, can. If there had been any other example reported of him saying anything like this -- and even his private remarks tended to be reported, far more than most people's -- then we might be justified in wondering if he meant it. If any other remark had been reported of him seriously threatening or even advocating any kind of violence towards Jews, we would have some justification. But is there? This one gets quoted all the time, because it's the nearest thing to a Nazi-style pronouncement a certain kind of person can find -- the kind of person who starts with the assumption that Wagner really was a Nazi (Everybody knows that!), is offended by all these others (such as Solti) who don't think so, and self-righteously sets out to open their poor blinkered eyes. So they dig and dig, and while they find a lot of prejudice and nasty language, they find rather too much humanity and friendship towards Jews as well. So sooner or later they all fasten on this -- just this -- with cries of relief.

And when you point out the inherent flaws, they grumble and sulk and say "But still..." And you have to point out that only the advent of the Nazis made this look like anything more than a grumpy joke. And then they say "But of course Wagner inspired the Nazis, everybody knows *that*!" And set off on their circular reasoning again.

Mike
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