Chapter

The Music of Tristan

ROGER SCRUTON

in Death-Devoted Heart

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780195166910
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199863938 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195166910.003.0004
The Music of Tristan

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This chapter focuses on philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer's influence on the music of Tristan and Isolde. Wagner discovered the philosophy of Schopenhauer while conceiving the drama of Tristan and Isolde. Both composer and philosopher had been deeply influenced by Kantian metaphysics; both were drawn to Hindu and Buddhist mysticism; and both were pessimists who saw renunciation as the highest human goal. Schopenhauer was the only disciple of Kant to develop a halfway believable philosophy of music, and his theories had a profound impact on Wagner, whose reading of Schopenhauer fostered his conception of a drama that would unfold entirely through the inner feelings of the characters. These feelings, hinted at in words, would acquire their full reality and elaboration in music.

Keywords: Wagner; Arthur Schopenhauer; Kant; Tristan and Isolde; opera; music

Chapter.  14181 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Opera

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