25 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Even if you set aside Wagner's massive, mythological Ring cycle, the output staggers: Tristan und Isolde, Parsifal, Lohengrin—the list of four-hour-plus masterworks goes on. As the operatic radical of the 19th century, he suggested ambitious narrative directions that would be taken up eagerly by successive generations of composers. And there's a reason the greatest dramatic sopranos of any era are still judged by their ability to sing Brünnhilde and Isolde: Wagner's writing for those roles delights audiences as much as it taxes the endurance of top performers. Prejudiced and politically blinkered as he was in his personal life, Wagner's musical gifts—including his advanced view of harmony—still inspire appreciation today.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Even if you set aside Wagner's massive, mythological Ring cycle, the output staggers: Tristan und Isolde, Parsifal, Lohengrin—the list of four-hour-plus masterworks goes on. As the operatic radical of the 19th century, he suggested ambitious narrative directions that would be taken up eagerly by successive generations of composers. And there's a reason the greatest dramatic sopranos of any era are still judged by their ability to sing Brünnhilde and Isolde: Wagner's writing for those roles delights audiences as much as it taxes the endurance of top performers. Prejudiced and politically blinkered as he was in his personal life, Wagner's musical gifts—including his advanced view of harmony—still inspire appreciation today.

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