Richard Wagner (1813-1883)

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J. Duncan
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Re: Richard Wagner (1813-1883)

Post by J. Duncan » 10 Mar 2021 02:02

Glad you enjoyed it. I’ve seen it more than once as well. There is something soothing about Fry (his voice, manner, and his colorful vocabulary) I find appealing. I liked the scene where he entered the Festspiel for the first time, whispering that he had waited his whole life to enter.
The stained tapestry - perfect example of Fry’s ability to contextualize in very descriptive words and phrases. “Imagine a gorgeous tapestry of immense texture and color....but indelibly stained”

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Ivan Ž.
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Re: Richard Wagner (1813-1883)

Post by Ivan Ž. » 10 Mar 2021 02:56

I loved him as General Melchett in "Blackadder Goes Forth" (a fantastic, brutally comical character), but I knew nothing about him privately. So when I found out about this documentary, years ago, I was pleasantly surprised ("Melchett likes Wagner?") and expected something possibly even comical. But then I got surprised again. Ever since, I respected him even more, as an exceptionally intelligent and talented person that he is (he is indeed a splendid narrator, sincere and childishly passionate, but wise and cautious at the same time). The fact that he's Jewish (and gay) is in this particular case additionally significant, due to controversies surrounding Wagner's music (largely thanks to ignorant or narrow-minded people), which he also successively covered in his film. I can't, however, personally relate to Fry's obsession with Wagner (whose music I do love, just not on the same level), but I do understand and respect being passionate about something or someone that brings you joy or/and a meaning in life.

Once again, a highly-recommended film, which covers much more than just Wagner and his works. One can enjoy and learn something from it regardless of the level of their interest in this particular composer or music.

Cheers,
Ivan

gebhk
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Re: Richard Wagner (1813-1883)

Post by gebhk » 10 Mar 2021 12:59

Hey ho, I did study Wagner's music many years ago and therefore, incidentally his biography to the extent that it was necessary for the study of his music. A complex man, not exactly unusual in highly talented and innovative people and let's leave it at that. His total dedication to his musical and theatrical vision left little time for learning about and understanding other branches of knowledge let alone to form any useful body of theory, I would suggest. Thus I would pay good money (and did) for his thoughts on music. His thoughts on race relations, eugenics and the meaning of life, the universe and everything I would no more value than those of my late aunt Enid.

And that is the problem - when people become immensely successful in their field, either they or others sometimes begin to believe they have suddenly become experts on everything and have deep understanding of everything - no names, no pack drill but certain simpering pop stars and actors spring to mind. Unfortunately, other folk sometimes believe them, particularly when their latest 'pearls of wisdom' chime with their own agenda and any reflected splendour is grist to the mill (which is where Wagner and the Nazis come in).

As for evidence in support of my position, I recommend the excellent anonymous "Did I say that? A calamitous collection of gaffes" published by Museum Selection (2003), abounding with examples of genuinely towering intellects spouting utterly inane b....s, when tempted to opine on fields other than their own.

J. Duncan
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Re: Richard Wagner (1813-1883)

Post by J. Duncan » 10 Mar 2021 21:19

You make great points. Sounds like a good book too (I ordered myself a copy). Wagner’s life / biography is legendary and makes for entertaining reading no doubt. I actually collected all 8 of his “Prose Works” and they are such gobbledygook that it’s amazing that others took it seriously. In English translation (Ellis) they are simply gibberish but he wrote to expound upon ideas that he was interested in (a dilettante) How he wrote all that music , plus the Prose, and then all those letters equating multiple volumes is amazing in itself - all the while arguing with Minna, sponging off his friends, running from his creditors....what an existence.
One of the funniest and entertaining books I read on Wagner as a man was “The Real Wagner”
by Rudolf Sabor , especially the examination of his letters on his various strategies of obtaining credit and loans.

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Re: Richard Wagner (1813-1883)

Post by J. Duncan » 15 Mar 2021 00:48

Watched this over the weekend. Had heard about this for years but finally saw it with English subtitles. It’s long, over 4 hours in 2 parts by famed German director Hans Jürgen Syberberg
titled “Winifred Wagner”. It is a fascinating portrait told in her own words. Intriguing woman.

Part One:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NVRxOPZ1k2Y

Part Two:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HvQHOnC6C7Y

gebhk
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Re: Richard Wagner (1813-1883)

Post by gebhk » 15 Mar 2021 10:28

Hi J Duncan

Yes, out of respect for his musical genius, I omitted to say that there was another area in which Wagner had outstanding expertise. Suffice to say that if you are planning a career in living beyond your means at the expense of your friends and acquaintances, Wagner's letters are essential reading and his life is a worthy role model.
Last edited by gebhk on 15 Mar 2021 10:34, edited 1 time in total.

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Hans1906
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Re: Richard Wagner (1813-1883)

Post by Hans1906 » 15 Mar 2021 10:29

J. Duncan,

thank you for the links, the 1975 Syberberg documentary "Winifred Wagner und die Geschichte des Hauses Wahnfried 1914–1975"
was very rarely broadcast on German TV, the last time I saw this documentary was about 30 years ago.

Quotes from the German Wikipedia (translated): https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winifred_ ... _1914–1975
Production notes
Winifred Wagner und die Geschichte des Hauses Wahnfried 1914-1975 was made over five days in April 1975 and was first shown to the public in July of the same year. Mass release was on June 15, 1976. The following year, the film was shown for the first time on German television (Bayerischer Rundfunk's Third Program). Winifred's grandson Gottfried Wagner assisted Syberberg on this film.

Critical response
A sprawling interview film with Winifred Wagner, Richard Wagner's daughter-in-law, documenting 60 years of contemporary German history, revealing the ideological and socio-political connections to National Socialism and Hitler's close relationship to the Wahnfried House and the Bayreuth Festival. Equally captivating in statement and performance due to the authenticity of the mediation.
Hans1906

P.S. As a person born in the year 1956, I am not entitled to a personal comment about the lady Winifred Wagner, the documentary is worth seeing, that should be enough.
As far as I know, this documentary has never been released on VHS, or DVD.

nibelung1876
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Re: Richard Wagner (1813-1883)

Post by nibelung1876 » 16 Mar 2021 06:59

As far as I know, this documentary has never been released on VHS, or DVD.
Winifred Wagner und die Geschichte des Hauses Wahnfried 25 € (english subt.available)

You can buy the DVD here:
http://www.syberberg.de/Syberberg4_2008 ... -alle.html

https://www.moviedetective.net/product_p/win.htm

Greetings.

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