The Sorcerer of Bayreuth
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Published for the 200th anniversary of Richard Wagners birth, and written by one of the most distinguished Wagner scholars in the world, this in-depth and highly readable account of Wagners life, work and times will be the book of the bicentenary. Richard Wagner (18131883) is one of the most influential and also one of the most polarizing composers in the history of music. Over the course of his long career, he produced a stream of spellbinding operas that challenged musical convention through their richness and tonal experimentation, paving the way for modernism. This richly illustrated overview of Wagners life, work and times makes use of the very latest scholarship much of it undertaken by the author in connection with his editorship of The Wagner Journal. The book reassesses received notions, demolishing ill-informed opinion in favour of proper critical understanding. It is a radical and occasionally controversial reappraisal of this most perplexing of composers. A wide range of themes include the composers original sources of inspiration; his fetish for exotic silks; his relationship with his wife, Cosima, and with his mistress; his anti-semitism; and the turbulent legacy both of the Bayreuth Festival and of Wagnerism itself. The books arrangement unique among books on the composer combines an accessible text, intriguing images and original documents in carefully co-ordinated sections, ensuring a consistently fresh approach.