Ranging far beyond the bounds of conventional biography and music history, this book examines the cultural background of Wagner’s art, including the nether regions of nationalism and racism. New Introduction by the Author. Index; photographs....
|Title||:||Richard Wagner: The Man, His Mind and His Music|
|Number of Pages||:||544 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Richard Wagner: The Man, His Mind and His Music Reviews
Gutman's sardonic, sometimes gossipy account of Wagner's life (forget the subtitle, since coverage of "the mind" and "the music" is slapdash and erratic) will either delight you with its biting sarcasm or irritate you with its indifference to the ideal of scholarly detachment and objectivity. I've owned it for decades, and formerly belonged to the camp of the delighted; these days, I wish that Gutman offered a variety of viewpoints and interpretations, rather than unfailingly opting for those which cast Wagner in the worst possible light. If you want a good introductory Wagner biography with less attitude, try Barry Millington's Wagner, which also provides a lucid overview of the music. Milington's sumptuous new biography, The Sorcerer of Bayreuth, looks better still, but I've only glanced at it.
A well-written biography, but so deeply prejudiced that I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Gutman reinterprets Wagner's operas without scholarly foundation; Parsifal, Wagner's tale of the maturing of a soul through the experience of compassion, is portrayed by Gutman as a homoerotic, antisemitic parable of racial eugenics, and Wagner, whose antisemitism is sufficiently well-known, is all but blamed for the holocaust. It's just too tempting to attribute Gutman's obsessions to his own established homosexuality and Jewishness. I read this book as a teenager when it first came out in 1968, and even then I could tell that it was a deeply biased and dishonest work. Gutman died this year, and I can only hope that he has to face Wagner in the afterlife.
This is a wonderful book, really exposes Wagner's personality and his relationships to other great composers, philosophers, conductors, and politicians of his day.