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Did Wagner Revolutionize Modern Music?

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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".
 
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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.
 

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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.
 
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Discussion Starter · #68 ·
As an aside, I am watching this. A nice production that makes sense of stage without stupid modern staging.

 
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Discussion Starter · #80 ·
Btw, my personal dislike of Wagner's music does not inhibit my ability to acknowledge his importance, greatness and influence. But because I haven't spent much time listening to his work I can't add anything to your excellent post.

What I've said is that while I do think he was very influential, I think that after Schoenberg and Stravinsky Wagner's influence began to evaporate, and certainly by the time of the post-war generation it was non-existent. We then had Minimalism, Neo-Romaticism, Spectral Music, New Complexity, and other styles of composition, which solidified his position as a 19th century composer with little impact on the second half of the 20th century and beyond.

So I quibble with the term "revolutionary".
I strongly disagree that by the time of the post-war generation, Wagner's influence was non-existent. Film composers for example continue to use many of Wagner's compositional techniques and numerous examples can be heard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #84 ·
While I agree that film composers have mined Wagnerisms for their scores, I don't consider film composers relevant to a discussion of classical music.
John Williams would beg to differ, one of our greatest living composers alive today. And your comments are more credible if you are at least as talented as Dr. Williams in composing new music today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #85 · (Edited)
It's a reasonable view. His scores are dramatic narratives of cinematic scope and evocativeness, and the problem of translating his visions - especially the mythical world of the Ring - into practical theater is fully solved only by the medium of film. He would have loved it, and it would probably have inspired him to imagine even more fantastic scenes. But I can't imagine him accepting the ordinary position of the film composer as subordinate to the director. He would insist on being the artistic mastermind - the creator of a new art form called "cinemopera" or something - with the director working for him.
Yes, and note that could be said far more than supposedly "revolutionary" composers like Schoenberg would have us believe nearly a century ago with his "new" music then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #87 ·
For me it is simply a matter of taxonomy, with no judgment of quality. Film scores fall under the category of popular entertainment; classical music does not.

It is also a matter of taste. You find the music of John Williams very enjoyable; I do not. But I do recognize that he is a gifted composer and highly accomplished orchestrator of his music. I don't listen to film scores often, if at all; in fact I rarely listen to orchestral music at all. My favorite classical music is chamber music, string quartets especially.

I know Williams has written some classical works, concertos and other things. But his reputation is based on his film work, and that is how I place him.
A great composer today influenced by Wagner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #99 ·
For me it is simply a matter of taxonomy, with no judgment of quality. Film scores fall under the category of popular entertainment; classical music does not.

It is also a matter of taste. You find the music of John Williams very enjoyable; I do not. But I do recognize that he is a gifted composer and highly accomplished orchestrator of his music. I don't listen to film scores often, if at all; in fact I rarely listen to orchestral music at all. My favorite classical music is chamber music, string quartets especially.

I know Williams has written some classical works, concertos and other things. But his reputation is based on his film work, and that is how I place him.
Taxonomy is that wonderful subject for people to debate, discuss but the reality does not change.
 

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Discussion Starter · #109 ·
Wagner didn't revolutionize music, he killed it. It's hard not to regard Wagner as the absolute zenith of Western music. Before him, music was enslaved to form, after him, music loses its way in the trappings of atonality and we see the rise of disposable "popular music" in response. With Parsifal, music has seemingly served its purpose, and suffers a slow death, its fatal dying gasps can be heard in Cardi B's "WAP".
Raise it one bar further: Wagner was the absolutist demigod of music. :p
 
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