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Richard Wagner

(1813—1883) German composer

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German composer, dramatist, and writer, whose theories and works were the subject of vigorous controversy. A revolutionary in 1848–9, he later came under the influence of Schopenhauer. His ideas were on the grandest scale; Der Ring des Nibelungen (based on the Nibelungenlied) required four separate evenings for its performance. His first champion in England was G. B. Shaw; later Ernest Newman wrote a Life (4 vols, 1933–47). Swinburne wrote an elegy, ‘The Death of Richard Wagner’; much of D. H. Lawrence's later work is Wagnerian in its symbolism. G. A. More and C. Morgan make substantial reference to Wagner and it is evident in The Waste Land, Ulysses, and Finnegans Wake. Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival inspired Wagner's opera Parsifal (1882). See also Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, Meistersinger.

Subjects: Music

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