The Wagner Clan: The Saga of Germanys Most Illustrious and Infamous Family

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He had succeeded his mother Cosima, who had imperiously imposed herself as director after Wagner's death in It is hard to think of another family saga—in the arts, business or politics—that rivals those four generations.

Jonathan Carr's history is formidable and, fortunately for readers, he has not been discouraged by the essentially disagreeable nature of this sprawling saga. There is a pinch of irony in his use of the term. Though there is no questioning the composer's musical genius, his reputation is clouded by his virulent anti-Semitism.

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Performances of Wagner's works declined steadily under the Nazis. Mr Carr gnaws away at Wagner's anti-Semitism, which was unreservedly shared by his second wife, Franz Liszt's daughter Cosima and by many other members of the clan, especially the women. Yet, after carefully sifting the evidence, he acquits the Master of blame for the Holocaust. Winifred Wagner—born in Hastings of Welsh parents, and married to Siegfried when she was 18 and he was 46—was the most enthusiastic of the Wagnerian anti-Semites and Hitler-lovers.

The Wagner Clan The Saga Of Germanys Most Illustrious And Infamous Family

She had supplied Hitler with writing paper when he was imprisoned after the Munich putsch in ; in his glory days she made him welcome at Bayreuth and encouraged her children to frolic with him in the garden at Wahnfried, the family home. Her husband, who had taken over from Cosima, his truly repellent mother, was, as Mr Carr says, the odd man out. He welcomed Jewish performers to Bayreuth, and enjoyed the tuneful, popular music of Verdi and Donizetti.

As a young man he had wanted to be an architect, but he became a capable composer of operas, a conductor and a decent director. Yet her children claim to have been unmarked by the Nazi era. It was Wieland who took over the directorship and, by dispensing with much of the traditional symbolism of Wagnerian production, not only restored Bayreuth's reputation but enhanced it.

However, he died in , aged 49, of cancer and Wolfgang stepped in.

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Wieland had been no admirer of his brother. And indeed Wolfgang directed little of merit himself, though he invited distinguished conductors and directors to Bayreuth—none of whom was allowed to establish a foothold there.


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Wolfgang is now What emerges from Mr Carr's compendious and enthralling story is that narrow family interests remain more important than artistic aspiration in Bayreuth. Wolfgang no doubt keeps the sackcloth in the props cupboard and sees no need for repentance.

Briefwechsel by Ludwig Book 1 edition published in in Undetermined and held by 24 WorldCat member libraries worldwide. Winifred Wagner und die Geschichte des Hauses Wahnfried by Winifred Wagner Visual 9 editions published between and in German and held by 22 WorldCat member libraries worldwide A documentary in six episodes on Richard Wagner's mansion Wahnfried near Bayreuth. Based on interviews with the composer's daughter-in-law Winifred Wagner, who takes the viewer through the life and times of Wagner, his family and relatives.

Family saga stresses details over dysfunction

Some of the aspects that the documentary deals with are Wagner's antisemitism and relationship with Hitler, the Bayreuther Festspiele, Nietzsche's friendship with Wagner, etc. The Wagner family albums : Bayreuth by Wolf Siegfried Wagner Book 8 editions published between and in German and Undetermined and held by 16 WorldCat member libraries worldwide. Briefwechsel mit 16 Handschriftennachbildungen und 16 Bildbeilagen by Ludwig Book 2 editions published in in German and Undetermined and held by 8 WorldCat member libraries worldwide.

Geburtstag von Arno Breker am Juli by Winifred Wagner Book 1 edition published in in German and held by 5 WorldCat member libraries worldwide. Winifred Wagner und die Geschichte des Hauses Wahnfried von Visual 3 editions published in in German and held by 3 WorldCat member libraries worldwide.

Reisetagebuch, by Siegfried Wagner Book 1 edition published in in German and held by 3 WorldCat member libraries worldwide. Audience Level.