Essay on Wagnerian

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Wagnerian I have a friend, Matthew, who is a Wagnerian. For those of you who don't know what that exotic species is, "Wagnerian" denotes someone who listens to the operas of Richard Wagner and loves them to a degree bordering on the unreasonable. And he's continually amazed by the fact that I don't get off on Wagner to the degree that he does. He also hit me once when I referred to Wagner as a proto-Nazi. Granted we were both a bit drunk at the time, but even so, you may get a bit of an idea how much respect and love Matthew has for the various works of Richard W. Nonetheless, I stand by both of those statements. There's no point denying the proto-Nazi thing, since handsome Adolf said it…show more content…
But even so, I'm not blind to its shortcomings, and there are times when the Romantic fits and seizures become too much. Wagner, to me, represents Romantic excess. There was a great moment once in the TV series Blackadder where Blackadder describes just how evil the Germans are: they have no word for "fluffy" and their operas last three or four days. The first example is slightly exaggerated perhaps (say hi to the word flaumig, Edmund), but in the case of Wagner's Ring der Nibelungen, the gibe is cruelly true. The whole thing really does last for four days (or evenings, at least). This is what I mean by excessive. Granted that the Ring is of course a series of four operas, not one, it's still too much. I've written before about how I don't like Mozart much, and one of the things I said then is that the sheer volume of young Wolfgang's output is one of the things that defeats me when I approach it. Wagner's excesses are in the opposite direction; he wrote relatively few operas but they were almost all mind- and arse-numbingly long. I don't think any of them (other than perhaps The Flying Dutchman) clock in below three hours and most go over four. Way too much to handle for me. Still, I've actually made an effort to get a handle of Wagner. A semi-proper effort too, not the half-arsed surface scratch job I did on Mozart. In preparation for this here bit of writing,
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