Schopenhauer and Wagner

Bryan Magee

in The Philosophy of Schopenhauer

Published in print August 1997 | ISBN: 9780198237228
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191706233 | DOI:
Schopenhauer and Wagner

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Outstanding among the many creative artists on whom Schopenhauer exercised influence was the opera composer Richard Wagner (1813–83), who, rarely for a composer, was an intellectual and studied Schopenhauer's philosophy seriously. He was already composing operas in accordance with a published theory of his own, which involved treating all its constituent elements as of equal importance. Schopenhauer persuaded him to accept not only hitherto rejected metaphysical ideas but also the supremacy of music over the other arts. In response, Wagner composed works such as Tristan and Isolde and Parsifal whose libretti are pervaded with Schopenhauer's ideas and whose music dominates the opera. Although the first of these Schopenhauerian works, Tristan and Isolde, was published in 1859, and therefore before Schopenhauer's death in 1860, it is virtually certain that he never knew of its existence.

Keywords: Parsifal; Schopenhauer; Tristan and Isolde; Wagner

Chapter.  25072 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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