Posted on Jan 15, 2022 101
If you take and compile a list of the ten greatest composers in the history of music, Wilhelm Richard Wagner is sure to be on it. Not only did he compose divine music, but he also contributed tremendously to the development of art theory. Now, two centuries later, his works roar through conservatories throughout the world, and he himself serves as a role model for many generations of young musicians.
Facts from Wagner’s biography
- The young composer’s father died the same year that the young Richard was born, so he was brought up by his stepfather. It was under his influence that he was interested in music.
- As a young man, Wagner often needed money, which is why he often changed his place of residence in search of work.
- He finished school at 13.
- According to the recollections of contemporaries, the composer was a very irascible person and had an explosive character.
- Wagner was married to the daughter of another famous composer - Franz Liszt.
- During his lifetime, he wrote 14 operas.
- Richard Wagner’s most famous work is the opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen, which lasts 16 hours.
- The composer was an ardent anti-Semite, and never hid his views, for which he was repeatedly criticized.
- Wagner was very superstitious. In particular, he studiously avoided the number 13, and he never set the dates of the premieres of his works for that day of the month.
- He was also a writer. Wagner wrote two dozen voluminous literary and philosophical works.
- The aria from Die Vergessen has made the Guinness Book of Records as the longest running piece of music in the world - the melody has been played uninterruptedly for six hours and 15 minutes.
- Richard Wagner himself claimed that through music, he communicated his philosophical ideas to his listeners.
- He praised the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer.
- As a talented conductor, Wagner introduced many new conducting techniques that are still in use today.
- Most of his works are based on mythological plots and legends.
- The first of Wagner’s operas, The Fairies, was not performed for the first time until after his death.
- It was he who came up to cover the orchestra pit with a canopy, thus eliminating situations in which the orchestra would drown out the soloist’s voice.
- For performing Der Ring des Nibelungen, he designed a completely new opera house, claiming it was the only place where this grand opera would sound as it should. Wagner himself considered Der Ring des Nibelungen the most important work of his life.
- Richard Wagner openly criticized the composer Mendelssohn, author of the world-famous Wedding March, in his publications.
- The opera Parsifal and its philosophical overtones caused irreconcilable differences of opinion between the composer and the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, with whom he had been friends.
- As a conductor, Wagner never used a score, performing all his works from memory.
- Throughout most of his life, he experienced financial difficulties and often moved precisely because he was harassed by creditors.