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Thread: Hitler and Wagner

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    You are awful but I like you!
    Uh oh!!! Should I be getting nervous???

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  3. #32
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    Hitler:Wagner = Peanut Butter:Jelly.

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  5. #33
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    So tired of these ridiculous discussions about whether or not one dead guy that hated jews liked the music of another dead guy who hated jews

    Do you like the dead guy's music? I do. A lot. Wagner was an artistic genius. Will people still be talking about Wagner's bigotry when they analyze the importance of T&I on the history of music in 300 years? Ridiculous.


    I'm of jewish origin too btw
    Last edited by jailhouse; Mar-17-2017 at 04:30.

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  7. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by hpowders View Post
    Hitler:Wagner = Peanut Butter:Jelly.
    Luckily, I find peanut butter and jam/jelly to be very unlikely bedfellows.

  8. #35
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    I'm not tired of these discussions at all (except when they get too personal and heated). I think it's fascinating to both enjoy the music and understand the historical context behind it. CM isn't computer generated. There are human events, circumstances, emotions, and motives behind most of it.

    Historical events have very much to do with composition motivation, and to ignore the former is not fully appreciating the music to the fullest in my opinion.
    Last edited by Richard8655; Mar-17-2017 at 16:50.

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  10. #36
    Senior Member fluteman's Avatar
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    I remember a documentary about the Israel Philharmonic that dealt with their decision to lift their ban on playing the music of Richard Strauss. (Strauss was admired by Hitler and accepted the position as President of the State Music Institute under the Nazi regime. But the apolitical Strauss needed to protect his Jewish daughter-in-law and grandchildren, and he ultimately lost that position when the Nazis intercepted a letter in which he described it as a joke.) In this documentary, the principal clarinet player, who by the way had all sorts of trouble in rehearsal under Zubin Mehta with his solo in Til Eulenspiegel, said it was time to lift the Strauss ban, but they would never lift the ban on Wagner's music (though they eventually did a few years ago).
    I've never understood this attitude. I'm interested in the art, not the artist's ethics, moral character or personal life. And as bad as Wagner may have been, he died 37 years before the Nazi party existed, making him just another anti-semitic b@stard, of whom there have been many in the history of music, art and literature. It wasn't his fault that Hitler liked his music and used it for his political purposes.
    For me, Strauss is a vastly more interesting composer than Wagner, and that is all that matters.

  11. #37
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    Hitler:Wagner = Café:Schlag
    Last edited by hpowders; Mar-18-2017 at 02:10.

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  13. #38
    Senior Member SilenceIsGolden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fluteman View Post
    I remember a documentary about the Israel Philharmonic that dealt with their decision to lift their ban on playing the music of Richard Strauss. (Strauss was admired by Hitler and accepted the position as President of the State Music Institute under the Nazi regime. But the apolitical Strauss needed to protect his Jewish daughter-in-law and grandchildren, and he ultimately lost that position when the Nazis intercepted a letter in which he described it as a joke.) In this documentary, the principal clarinet player, who by the way had all sorts of trouble in rehearsal under Zubin Mehta with his solo in Til Eulenspiegel, said it was time to lift the Strauss ban, but they would never lift the ban on Wagner's music (though they eventually did a few years ago).
    I've never understood this attitude. I'm interested in the art, not the artist's ethics, moral character or personal life. And as bad as Wagner may have been, he died 37 years before the Nazi party existed, making him just another anti-semitic b@stard, of whom there have been many in the history of music, art and literature. It wasn't his fault that Hitler liked his music and used it for his political purposes.
    For me, Strauss is a vastly more interesting composer than Wagner, and that is all that matters.
    I agree with just about everything you've said here (outside of Strauss being a vastly more interesting composer than Wagner ).

    The problem with these discussions is that they rarely lead to any kind of enlightened discussion. I think many of us enjoy learning about the historical context of classical music, and about the societal influences that bring works of art into being. However it's rather dubious when we start doing the inverse of that: claiming that works of art have some sort of large scale socio-political influence. This is usually propagated by those who seem to imagine that works of art are exhaustively social products, and that their primary influence lies in their social influence. However, it seems rather apparent that the social influence of art is very minimal. Certainly, art is often a reflection of the society and historical circumstances surrounding the artist and their response to it. But even in a close symbiotic relationship between an artist and their society, for example The Beatles and 1960s counterculture, to say that the music of The Beatles was a reflection of the times and fed into the events taking place around them is one thing; to say it was a driving influence behind those events or directly caused any sort of social change seems pretty silly.

    Which just makes the connections people usually try to imply between Wagner's art and it's influence on the Nazi Party or Hitler that much more preposterous. These two do not share any sort of historical ties, and outside of Hitler's personal enjoyment of Wagner's artworks (much as he enjoyed other German and non-German works of art), there is not any kind of "influence" that took place, let alone the often read implications that Wagner's art was somehow responsible for, or linked, to Hitler's policies or social outlooks or Nazism.
    Last edited by SilenceIsGolden; Mar-17-2017 at 22:06.

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  15. #39
    Senior Member fluteman's Avatar
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    I shouldn't have written "vastly". Both are interesting composers, obviously. But the idea of sitting in the pit and playing an entire performance of Die Meistersinger was more than enough to dissuade me from a career in music. Even playing the overtures, which I have done, is excruciatingly boring. Of course, the whole is much more than the sum of the parts with Wagner's orchestral music.

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    This discussion highlights the difference between two kinds of art consumers. On the one hand, there are those who wish to separate art from its social context, seeing it as a "pure" art.

    I think certain types of art can be "abstracted" from their origins, such as instrumental music, which is much easier to do than with opera.

    Opera deals with people and singers, and as such will always have a social dimension which reflects its origins as ethnic flavor, or national flavor.

    My guess is that Wagner "bypassed" this social relevance by cloaking it in myth. Wagner's opera is more universally popular than opera which preceded it because it deals with myth, and myth seems to escape the normally-imposed bounds of "reality." Thus, it becomes this great, pure, otherworldly thing.

    Myth also has religious resonances, which also increased the fervor of Wagnerians.

    Ultimately, any secular moral system, or secular 'delivery mechanism' of mythology, ethics, morality tales, good and evil, will be a reflection of religious values, or will be based on the same premises as religion, so the net result is the same.

    Since Wagner was German, I think we have to look at him as embodying German ideals and morality. What came after was an aberration from the ideal, of course.

    There are three classes of action: Intent, speech, and action. Wagner's art is of course a highly sophisticated "speech" which is not a real "action." It can depict a murder without actually committing the act. It is therefore a lesser class of action, and always will be.

    Hitler's actions were real; the problem remains, is there a connection between Wagner's "speech" and real action?

    Is what Wagner depicted in any way connected to the real actions of the Nazis? Woodduck says no, the myths are not a "blueprint" of later actions, or metaphors for real attitudes.

    It seems that an effective defense of Wagner would carefully analyze the actual content of these myths, and place them in social context. What is "Germanic" about these stories? How would this possibly translate, metaphorically, into real action? Like yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theatre, speech can incite action. Has Wagner done this in some way?
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Mar-22-2017 at 21:42.

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  18. #41
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    Wagner's music is great, let's first get that out of the way.

    But it's also true that Hitler was inspired to take up politics because of Rienzi. Hence, Wagner indirectly caused the Holocaust. You can't really blame him for that though, can you.
    Last edited by Norma Skock; Mar-22-2017 at 23:53.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norma Skock View Post
    Hence, Wagner indirectly caused the Holocaust..
    thats.....quite the leap lol.

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  21. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    It seems that an effective defense of Wagner would carefully analyze the actual content of these myths, and place them in social context. What is "Germanic" about these stories?
    Of course this has been done by numerous scholars, many times over. But I'm not sure what the defense would be against.

    How would this possibly translate, metaphorically, into real action? Like yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theatre, speech can incite action. Has Wagner done this in some way?
    I'm definitely excited to hear a coherent and logical argument that would support a comparison between Wagner's art and yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater.
    Last edited by Faustian; Mar-23-2017 at 06:43.

  22. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faustian View Post


    I'm definitely excited to hear a coherent and logical argument that would support a comparison between Wagner's art and yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater.
    According to Carl Jung's Man and his Symbols, Humanity has archetypes hard-wired into the brain by centuries of development, and these common structures are called 'the collective unconscious.' These can be triggered into awareness by events and stresses; so the notion of Wagner's operatic symbolism 'tapping in' to some dark aspect of the German psyche does not seem like a far-fetched idea.


  23. #45
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    According to Carl Jung's Man and his Symbols, Humanity has archetypes hard-wired into the brain by centuries of development, and these common structures are called 'the collective unconscious.' These can be triggered into awareness by events and stresses; so the notion of Wagner's operatic symbolism 'tapping in' to some dark aspect of the German psyche does not seem like a far-fetched idea.

    I've not read Jung. Are the hard-wired archetypes that comprise the collective unconscious present in all of humankind? Were the pre-contact aboriginal populations of Australia, New Guinea, North and South America, etc. similarly and identically hard-wired? Or is the collective unconscious a western/European phenomenon?

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