Richard Wagner, fully Wilhelm Richard Wagner

Wagner, fully Wilhelm Richard Wagner

German Composer, Conductor, Theatre Director and Polemicist known for his Operas

Author Quotes

What "Conservatives," "Liberals" and "Conservative-liberals," and finally "Democrats," "Socialists," or even "Social-democrats" etc., have lately uttered on the Jewish Question, must seem to us a trifle foolish; for none of these parties would think of testing that "Know thyself" upon themselves, not even the most indefinite and therefore the only one that styles itself in German, the "Progress"-party. There we see nothing but a clash of interests, whose object is common to all the disputants, common and ignoble: plainly the side most strongly organized, i.e. the most unscrupulous, will bear away the prize. With all our comprehensive State- and National-Economy, it would seem that we are victims to a dream now flattering, now terrifying, and finally asphyxiating: all are panting to awake therefrom; but it is the dream's peculiarity that, so long as it enmeshes us, we take it for real life, and fight against our wakening as though we fought with death. At last one crowning horror gives the tortured wretch the needful strength: he wakes, and what he held most real was but a figment of the d‘mon of distraught mankind.

What was infinitely more valuable to Wagner, and what excited his gratitude to even more superlative utterance, was the confidence which Liszt showed in his genius, and without which, it is no exaggeration to say, Wagner?s greatest works would probably have remained unwritten.

Who, then, will be the Artist of the Future? The poet? The performer? The musician? The plastician? - Let us say it in one word: the Folk. That selfsame Folk to whom we owe the only genuine Art-work, still living even in our modern memory, however much distorted by our restorations; to whom alone we owe all Art itself.

Woe! Woe! sweetest woman you saddest of all the faithful rages against thee in arms the world: and I, the only familiar you, for you defied her only, with my protection should not I protect you, the Kuehne betrayed in battle? Ha, shame him, who created the sword to me, he summoned me Schimpf for victory! Do I have to fall, not moving I to Valhalla: ! Hella hold me

Today we need only faithfully to expound the myth of Oedipus according to its inmost essence, and in it we win an intelligible picture of the whole history of mankind, from the beginnings of Society to the inevitable downfall of the State. The necessity of this downfall is, in the mythos, merely foreshadowed: it is the part of actual history (die wirkliche Geschichte) to accomplish it.

We are bound someday to reach a point, in the contest between French civilization and the German spirit, where it will become a question of the continuance of the German Princes. If the German Princes are not the faithful guardians of the German spirit; if, consciously or unconsciously, they help French civilization to triumph over that German spirit, so woefully misprised and disregarded by them: then their days are numbered, let the fiat come from here or there.

The word "deutsch" is also found in the verb "deuten" (to make plain): thus "deutsch" is what is plain to us, the familiar, the wonted, that which was inherited from our fathers and springs from our very own soil.

Then came the Students' Association. The League of Virtue was founded. All so fantastic that no human being could grasp it. But I did. Now it is me no one grasps: I am the most German being, I am the German spirit. Question the incomparable magic of my works, compare them with the rest: and you can, for the present, say no differently than that - it is German. But what is this German? It must be something wonderful, mustn't it, for it is humanly finer than all else? - Oh heavens! It should have a soil, this German! I should be able to find my people! What a glorious people it ought to become. But to this people only could I belong. -

This is Alberich's dream come true ? Nibelheim, world dominion, activity, work, everywhere the oppressive feeling of steam and fog.

This possibility, of always drawing from the pristine fount of our own nature, that makes us feel ourselves no more a race, no mere variety of man, but one of Manhood's primal branches, ? 'tis this that ever has bestowed on us great men and spiritual heroes, as to whom we have no need to trouble whether fashioners of foreign fatherless civilizations are able to understand and prize them; whilst we again, inspired by the deeds and gifts of our forefathers, and gazing with unclouded eye, are able to rightly estimate those foreigners, and value them according to the spirit of pure Humanity indwelling in their work.

One might say that where Religion becomes artificial, it is reserved for Art to save the spirit of religion.

Only on the shoulders of this great social movement can true Art lift itself from its present state of civilized barbarianism, and take its post of honor. Each has a common goal, and the twain can only reach it when they recognize it jointly. This goal is the strong fair Man.

Returning in the afternoon, I stretched myself, dead tired, on a hard couch, awaiting the long-desired hour of sleep. It did not come; but I fell into a kind of somnolent state, in which I suddenly felt as though I were sinking in swiftly flowing water. The rushing sound formed itself in my brain into a musical sound, the chord of E flat major, which continually re-echoed in broken forms; these broken chords seemed to be melodic passages of increasing motion, yet the pure triad of E flat major never changed, but seemed by its continuance to impart infinite significance to the element in which I was sinking. I awoke in sudden terror from my doze, feeling as though the waves were rushing high above my head. I at once recognized that the orchestral overture to the Rheingold, which must long have lain latent within me, though it had been unable to find definite form, had at last been revealed to me. I then quickly realised my own nature; the stream of life was not to flow to me from without, but from within.

I have long been convinced that my artistic ideal stands or falls with Germany. Only the Germany that we love and desire can help us achieve that ideal.

Richard Wagner, a musician who wrote music which is better than it sounds.

I know of only one composer who measures up to Beethoven, and that is Bruckner.

Singing is the highest passion in excited speech, music is the language of passion.

I wish I could score everything for horns.

Stability is therefore the intrinsic tendency of the State... The embodied voucher for this fundamental law is the Monarch. In no State is there a weightier law than that which centres its stability in the supreme hereditary power of one particular family... Personally he has naught in common with the interests of parties, but his sole concern is that the conflict of these interests should be adjusted, precisely for the safety of the whole. His sphere is therefore equity, and where this is unattainable, the exercise of grace (Gnade). Thus, as against the party interests, he is the representative of purely-human interests, and in the eyes of the party-seeking citizen he therefore occupies in truth a position well-nigh superhuman.

In order to see the Performer and the Poet take natural rise, we must first imagine to ourselves the artistic Fellowship of the future; and that according to no arbitrary canon, but following the logical course which we are bound to take in drawing from the Art-work itself our conclusions as to those artistic organs which alone can call it into natural life.

The birth of the new German spirit brought with it the rebirth of the German people: the German War of Liberation of 1813, 1814 and 1815 suddenly familiarized us with this people.

It is necessary for us to explain the involuntary repugnance we possess for the nature and personality of the Jews? The Jews have never produced a true poet. Heinrich Heine reached the point where he duped himself into a poet, and was rewarded by his versified lies being set to music by our own composers. He was the conscience of Judaism, just as Judaism is the evil conscience of our modern civilization.

The Italian made as much of the Antique his own, as he could copy and remodel; the Frenchman borrowed from this remodeling, in his turn, whatever caressed his national sense for elegance of Form: the German was the first to apprehend its purely-human originality... Through its inmost understanding of the Antique, the German spirit arrived at the capability of restoring the Purely-human itself to its pristine freedom; not employing the antique form to display a certain given `stuff', but molding the necessary new form itself through an employment of the antique conception of the world.

It is very common for the patriot to quote his country's name in a spirit of total veneration. The more powerful a people, however, the less store it seems to set by referring to itself with such a degree of reverence. I have no doubt that it is far less common in public life in England and France for people to speak of `English' and `French virtues', whereas the Germans frequently refer to `German depth', `German seriousness', `German fidelity' and so on.

The most tremendous genius raised Mozart above all masters, in all centuries and in all the arts.

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Wagner, fully Wilhelm Richard Wagner
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German Composer, Conductor, Theatre Director and Polemicist known for his Operas