Unfinished Symphonies

John Deathridge

in Wagner Beyond Good and Evil

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780520254534
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520934610 | DOI:
Unfinished Symphonies

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This chapter discusses the later life of Richard Wagner. To this day, the apparent plenitude of his works and writings prevents commentators from asking what his life did not bring him, what he did not do, or indeed what he sensed was lacking in his own life that provided images for his voracious intellect. During the last few months before his death, Wagner composed nothing of any consequence. The tension between Wagner's private creative need to write symphonies and his official public position on the symphony increased markedly toward the end of his life. It was not Wagner's lack of ability in writing instrumental music, but his own polemic about the symphony and its future, that in the end may have been responsible for his inability to compose one, still, the will to write symphonies remained with Wagner to his death.

Keywords: Richard Wagner; symphonies; instrumental music; later life; public position

Chapter.  6510 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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