Classical Music Forum banner

Did Wagner Revolutionize Modern Music?

1 - 20 of 121 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,952 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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".
 
  • Like
Reactions: superhorn

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,739 Posts
`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.
 
  • Like
Reactions: En Passant

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,018 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,178 Posts
Most definitely...The same as AH, his admirer was a revolutionary and not a reactionary...:cool:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,461 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,178 Posts
AH's ideology was traditionalism with MODERN weapons and RW was not so far off...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,963 Posts
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?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,615 Posts
View 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"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,586 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
228 Posts
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
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,691 Posts
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.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,911 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,858 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,691 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
435 Posts
I would say he introduced new themes and motifs into his musical patterns specially the overtures.
Themes that one can associate with "heroic acts, standing above the crowd, hope" etc...

Take "ride of the Valkyries" for example or the overture to "Tannhauser" express a certain heroic cause.
Just imagine how modern they would have sound back then on their premiere performances. I would say, Wagner mesmerized his audience to a good extent. In that regards, yes he did have a great deal of impact on music and operas specifically.

Just imagine how the audience might have perceived this in 1876 when it was first premiered at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,858 Posts
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.
Okay, I see, that actually makes a lot of sense. It's one of my favourite Die Walküres AND it has Vickers.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,952 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
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.
Those other composers and works are not noteworthy. Barely anyone has listened to them, let along remain in the repertoire or have opera houses perform them every year in contrast to Wagner's. Fact.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,952 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
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.)
What about on DVD/Blu-Ray? I like the Boulez Bayreuth version.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Reichstag aus LICHT

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,461 Posts
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
Bernstein could be so hyperbolic! I'm wondering how Tristan could be the central work in all of music history, when the composers that are most universally agreed upon as the greatest all came before Wagner? Even if Tristan was the sole influence and gateway to all of modernism (which it clearly is not), that statement would still be highly exaggerated.

I think Bernstein was all around a fantastic musician and educator, he just got carried away sometimes in his enthusiasm, he has made similarly exaggerated claims about Beethoven and about Stravinsky's Rite of Spring.
 
1 - 20 of 121 Posts
Top