View Poll Results: Did Wagner Revolutionize Modern Music?

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65. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes, questionably yes

    32 49.23%
  • No, not in the slightest

    3 4.62%
  • Yes, to some extent

    20 30.77%
  • I know his music but I am unsure whether he was revolutionary or not

    1 1.54%
  • I don't know enough to comment/participate

    2 3.08%
  • I hate Wagner and/or his music

    3 4.62%
  • Who cares

    4 6.15%
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Thread: Did Wagner Revolutionize Modern Music?

  1. #1
    Senior Member ArtMusic's Avatar
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    Default Did Wagner Revolutionize Modern Music?

    He wrote about thirteen complete operas, ten of which are "Wagner canon". While these stage works are operas/musical dramas, there were vast elements that influenced generations of composers to this day. even watching old films from the middle of the 20th century, you can hear film composers wrote similarly using Wagnerian methods.

    Wagner truly revolutionized modern music.

    Edit: apologies for the spelling mistake - the first option in the poll is "Yes, unquestionably yes".
    Last edited by ArtMusic; Jan-19-2021 at 21:25.
    "You must have no dependence on your own genius. If you have great talents, industry will improve them; if you have but moderate abilities, industry will supply their deficiency." Sir Joshua Reynolds, PRA, FRS, FRSA (1723 - 1792)

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    Senior Member SixFootScowl's Avatar
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    `Perhaps revolutionized opera more than he revolutionized modern music? But then maybe his operatic innovations did impact music in general. As I voted, I don't know enough to really say.
    "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians 6:12

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  5. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtMusic View Post
    He wrote about thirteen complete operas, ten of which are "Wagner canon". While these stage works are operas/musical dramas, there were vast elements that influenced generations of composers to this day. even watching old films from the middle of the 20th century, you can hear film composers wrote similarly using Wagnerian methods.

    Wagner truly revolutionized modern music.

    Edit: apologies for the spelling mistake - the first option in the poll is "Yes, unquestionably yes".
    Yes to this extent: he created an interest in writing excessive music. This led to, for example, Morton Feldman’s excessively long duration late music; Stockhausen’s excessive demands in the Licht operas, for example, for a helicopter; Ferneyhough’s excessive rhythmic complexity, Cage’s excessive multi media circus pieces; Bedrossian’s excessively saturated timbres and I pass over many others.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jan-19-2021 at 22:19.

  6. #4
    Senior Member Flamme's Avatar
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    Most definitely...The same as AH, his admirer was a revolutionary and not a reactionary...
    'Listen, Mister god!
    Isn't it boring
    to dip your puffy eyes,
    every day, into a jelly of clouds?'

  7. #5
    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
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    I think his music acted as a kind of bridge towards modernism, the same can be said about Liszt and Mussorgsky perhaps even Brahms to a smaller extent. It was an influence on modernism, and then composers like Debussy and Stravinsky revolutionized modern music.

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  9. #6
    Senior Member Flamme's Avatar
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    AH's ideology was traditionalism with MODERN weapons and RW was not so far off...
    'Listen, Mister god!
    Isn't it boring
    to dip your puffy eyes,
    every day, into a jelly of clouds?'

  10. #7
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    He influenced some composers. Some for the balance of their lives, others for a certain period of fascination that then was followed by repudiation or just a wandering away. Others not at all. And to what extent was he the recipient of the influence of Berlioz and Liszt?

  11. #8
    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
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    Attachment 148131
    "... Yes, the missing tonality was in fact C minor; “atonality” is of course not justified, but it was certainly hinted…Adorno’s « hegemony of tonality» remains and Mozart’s acquisitions anticipate those of Wagner, transforming musical language « only indirectly, by means of the amplification of the tonal space and not through its abolition»"

    It depends what you mean by "modern music"
    Last edited by hammeredklavier; Jan-19-2021 at 23:08.

  12. #9
    Junior Member George P Smackers's Avatar
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    It's a claim made so frequently that I can find no reason to dispute it.

    There are piles and piles of articles, pop and academic, YouTube videos, lectures, TV segments, books, etc. on the revolutionary nature of the "Tristan chord" alone, its influences, musical meanings, "philosophical" significance, etc.

    So yeah, he did.

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  14. #10
    Senior Member consuono's Avatar
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    I don't know...I think maybe forms of the word "revolutionary" are overused and then quality level us judged by how "revolutionary" -- i.e.how unlike what came before -- a composer's works are. Wagner was influenced by Beethoven and others and Wagner in turn was enormously influential. Btw I'm thinking of getting a whole Ring cycle on CD, I just don't know which to get yet.

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  16. #11
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    Debussy, Strauss, Mahler, Schönberg, Berg, etc, etc, were influenced by Wagner.

    After Tristan, music was not the same; Unbelievable, Barenboim decided to rethink Beethoven´s 32 piano sonatas after his first Tristan und Isolde.

    And Bernstein claimed: ""'Tristan und Isolde' is the central work of all music history, the hub of the wheel... I have spent my life since I first read it, trying to solve it. It is incredibly prophetic." --Leonard Bernstein, 1981

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  18. #12
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by consuono View Post
    I don't know...I think maybe forms of the word "revolutionary" are overused and then quality level us judged by how "revolutionary" -- i.e.how unlike what came before -- a composer's works are. Wagner was influenced by Beethoven and others and Wagner in turn was enormously influential. Btw I'm thinking of getting a whole Ring cycle on CD, I just don't know which to get yet.
    Just get the Solti. It was the first complete Ring recorded, and it hasn't been surpassed as a whole. It features most of the best Wagner singers of the postwar decades, it's dramatically involving, and the sound was state-of-the-art for the 1960s and holds up very well today. (I never bought it as a complete set, but substituted the Leinsdorf Die Walkure, recorded at about the same time, for the Solti, partly because Hans Hotter, Solti's Wotan, was too far over the hill vocally by 1965.)
    Last edited by Woodduck; Jan-20-2021 at 00:05.

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  20. #13
    Senior Member mbhaub's Avatar
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    Get the Blu Ray version of Solti's Ring - stunning sound. Even better than the CD remasters.

    What Wagner accomplished:

    1) Incredible fusion of all the arts into his music dramas.
    2) Huge expansion of the tonal palette of composers. Pushed tonality to the limits and opened new vistas for everyone who came after.
    3) Created new sounds with new instruments - Wagner Tuben - and new methods of blending instruments. No less a composer than Rimsky-Korsakov was thrilled with Wagner's orchestration and proceeded in new directions and we know where that led.
    4) Demonstrated to followers the creation of mythologies that would echo for 150 years - you think Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and others came out of nowhere?
    5) Created the leitmotiv that practically every opera composer, film movie composer and even Broadway show composer used after him.

    Wagner was a creative force never equaled. He and he alone forced music on a new trajectory. It was something no Hanslick or Brahms could stop. It's just so unfortunate that he was a racist and his music taken up by the Nazis.

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  22. #14
    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Just get the Solti. It was the first complete Ring recorded, and it hasn't been surpassed as a whole. It features most of the best Wagner singers of the postwar decades, it's dramatically involving, and the sound was state-of-the-art for the 1960s and holds up very well today. (I never bought it as a complete set, but substituted the Leinsdorf Die Walkure, recorded at about the same time, for the Solti, partly because Hans Hotter, Solti's Wotan, was too far over the hill vocally by 1965.)
    Karajan’s Die Walküre would be a great choice, too, but Karajan’s Wagner isn’t to everyone’s taste.

    In my opinion it’s quite undeniable that Wagner revolutionised his contemporary classical music. Modern music was more like a further development that Wagner during his lifetime was only able to inspire but not exactly revolutionise. It could be argued, however, that modern classical music wouldn’t have been the same without Wagner.
    Last edited by annaw; Jan-20-2021 at 00:29.

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  24. #15
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by annaw View Post
    Karajan’s Die Walküre would be a great choice, too, but Karajan’s Wagner isn’t to everyone’s taste.
    I suggested the Leinsdorf Walkure as a substitute for the Solti because it shares important singers with that cycle (Birgit Nilsson and George London). The Karajan is a fine performance, but very different, artistically and sonically.

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