Isolde Wagner


Influenced in his own early compositions by the Polish Chopin and the French Berlioz, both close associates in the musical circles of Paris, to which his family had moved when he was 12, Liszt came into his full creative powers only after he startled everyone by retiring from the concert stage in 1848 at the age of 37.

  1. Richard Wagner's Most Famous Operas
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Prelude to the first act from Wagner's 'Tristan und Isolde', german opera in three acts. Author: Richard Wagner (1813-1883).Conductor: Wilhelm Furtwangler &.

Tristan und isolde wagner pdf
  1. Tristan and Isolde: Wagner’s Medieval Romance Summary The legend of Tristan and Isolde is one of the most influential medieval romances, which was about a love triangle between the hero, his uncle and his uncle’s wife. This page contained full story from the early traditions and a briefer alternative accounts of the later legend.
  2. Tristan und Isolde is an opera, or music drama, in three acts by Richard Wagner.
  3. Wagner Discography is the ultimate source for recordings of Richard Wagner`s operas (audio and video, official and private recordings). 337 Tristan und Isolde 10.
  4. Sep 09, 2016 Fuelled by a passionate affair with Mathilde Wesendonck and the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, Wagner’s creativity flourished to form his revolutionary masterwork, Tristan und Isolde. When the opera was premiered in 1865, it laid the foundation for 20th-century harmonic development.

Settling in Weimar as Kapellmeister to the Grand Duke and earning but a fraction of his accustomed income, Liszt tirelessly dedicated himself to championing new music and to teaching any and all who appeared at his doorstep seeking help. Most important, he found time to pursue his own composing, and it was during the Weimar period that he produced, among a massive output, the important Faust Symphony, and created in the symphonic tone poem a compelling 19th-century form emulated by many after him.

In the tone poems, Liszt relied heavily on the technique of thematic transformation, a system that became the basis for Wagner’s leitmotifs in his music dramas. The relationship of Liszt and Wagner was musically a close one, and in fact became a familial one when Wagner married Cosima von Bülow. Cosima, you see, was one of Liszt’s three love children (with the Countess Marie d’Agoult), thus Liszt became Wagner’s father-in-law. But even before that relationship began, Liszt championed Wagner’s music to the public by playing his transcriptions or paraphrases of themes from many Wagner operas, among them Rienzi, Tannhäuser, and this program’s Tristan und Isolde. Liszt’s treatment of Isolde’s Liebestod is entirely respectful of its source, an unadorned realization for piano of the orchestral/vocal original.

— Orrin Howard, who served the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Director of Publications and Archives for more than 20 years, continues to contribute to the Philharmonic’s program book.

Tounderstand the significance of ‘Tristan and Isolde’ several aspects should beconsidered. Firstly, the profundity surrounding the subject matter of love,death and magic makes it more relevant to the artist’s personalized culturalagenda than other works. While, for example Mozart’s ‘The Magic flute’ isdefinable through its commentary on enlightenment philosophy, in Wagner’s workthe subject’s specifics are incidentally used to create a new form of art thatengages with the individual more deeply. Wagner saw subject matter assubordinate to representation and reception. [1]And the justification can be seen in Schopenhauer’s philosophy that links the artisticexperience to a mystical one, of which Wagner ascribed. In art, noted Schopenhauer,we are no longer presented with a multiplicity of things but rather with thepermanent essential forms. And true rejection of patterns, via the will bringsindividual moral worth. Art steps in as a “doctor for the attention”.[2]And it was in ‘a serious mood’ while reading Schopenhauer that Wagner conceivedof ‘Tristan and Isolde’.[3]Therefore we have not just the morality of society as subject matter, as inMozart’s case, but a newmethod to do it, opera itself! Sketch toy.

In thehistorical perspective, Wagner saw broad strokes of change. The epic poetry ofthe ancient Greeks such as Homer gave way to the Tragedians, representing thechange from describing to acting. After tragedy’s demise poets no longer actedbut merely described. [4]Art that needed understanding, as with narration produced rumination andinhibited sensory comprehension. But dramatic enactment produced immediatecomprehension.[5]

‘Tristan andIsolde’ represents the beginning of an agenda characterized by the mysticalexperience setting a cultural standard from and within Germany at thisparticular time. And by a design by Wagner of preparing and acquiring a certainaudience and manifesting a certain culture and patriotism in line with his operaticand cultural ideals. [6]These ideals brought innovations such as the use of leitmotifs, unconventionalharmony and tonality, presentation and the darkening of the auditorium. Suchtotal engagement of an audience has obvious cultural ramifications.

At this timeexisted the social/cultural climate of the rise of German Nationalism and Romanticism.In the ‘Tristan and Isolde’ story both these elements are represented. It is apolitically arranged matrimonial engagement that is usurped by a mystical [Romantic]experience in psychologic drama. The excavation of German folklore and medievalstories, was in effect a celebration of Germanic Teutonic roots and opera isused to celebrate the Teutonic past from a story where Tristan has a “perfectbody”. [7]With total art– music, poetry, drama and visual effects amalgamated, subscribingto Schopenhauer’s philosophy of somnambulistic inspiration that takes placebeyond the laws of space and time, the artist was fulfilling a deeper culturalagenda. One not necessarily obvious without this broader cultural perspective. Andthis supposed ideal naturally delineated the ‘other’. Beginning with those whoproduced pseudo art for profit and opinion, the ‘other’ incorporated “non-Germans”,especially Jews.[8]

And yet theGerman character of this development is not as clear as it would seem. FrenchmanHector Berlioz had pioneered a similar romantic tragedy, conceptually speaking,before Wagner.[9]And Wagner was a witness to it and wrote gushing praise about this “never heardbefore” new style which “took [him] by storm” yet which he later belittled.[10]

The whole Europeansensibility was split between believers in absolute music, and the dramaticmusical. [11] Germanybecame the centre of this later style by the residency of Wagner’s works thereand by its powerful resident devotees such as Liszt. [12]‘Tristan and Isolde’ became a milestone in the historic development of music,and a German one too. It is perhaps a telling footnote to the power of Wagner’svision and obsession that his first artistic endeavour at seventeen was a tragicdrama with similar intensity of love, supernaturalism and death that he said,even at that early time, “… could only be judged rightly when provided with music”.[13]

Wagner,never knowing the happiness of love, as he himself put it, and his three wayrelationship and unfulfilled love while writing ‘Tristan and Isolde’ givesanother angle to consider—the expression of his personal sense of hopelessnessin love that it surely represents. [14]


A History ofWestern Music, Seventh Edition, Peter J Burkholder, W.W.Norton and Company 2006, 726

A ShortHistory of Opera, Donald Jay Grout, Columbia University Press, 1965

My life,Richard Wagner, Da Capo Press, New York, 1992

Opera, TheExtravagent Art, Herbert Lindenberger, Cornell University Press, 1985

RichardWagner, Fritz Lang and the Nibelungen, David J Levin, Princeton UniversityPress, 1998

RichardWagner; A life in Music, Martin Geck, University of Chicago Press, 2012

TheChronicle of opera, Michael Raeburn, Thames and Hudson, 2007


The operasof Richard Wagner, J. Cuthbert Hadden, London; T.C & E.C Jack LTD. 1908


The Music Quarterly,Vol. 3 No. 3 [Jul 1917], Julian Teirsot and Theadore Baker, Oxford UniversityPress

Richard Wagner's Most Famous Operas

[1] David J Levin, Richard Wagner, FritzLang and the Nibelungen, , Princeton University Press, 1998, 32

[2] Janeway, Christopher, The Cambridge Companionto Schopenhauer, Cambridge University press 1999, 353

[3] Wagner,Richard, My life, Constable Limited, 1911, vol. 2, p. 617

[4] Levin, david op.cit 31

[5] Ibid. 32

[6] Lindenberger, Herbert, ‘Opera; The ExtravagentArt’, , Cornell University Press, 1985, 222, 223

[7] Von Strassburg,Gottfried, Tristan; Translated Entire for the First Time, Harmondsworth,Middlesex, Penguin Books, 1960, 50

[8] Wagner, Richard,Judaism in Music, The Wagner Library, 1950 Translated by William AshtonEllis [accessed19/04/2016]

[9] Teirsot, Julianand Baker, Theadore, ‘The Music Quarterly’, Vol. 3 No. 3 [Jul 1917], , OxfordUniversity Press 455

[10] Op cit. 455

[11] Burkholder,Peter J, ‘A History of Western Music’, Seventh Edition, of west music,W.W.Norton and Company 2006, 726

[12] Teirsot, Julianand Baker, Theadore Op cit, 470

Isolde Wagner Beidler

[13] Wagner, Mylife, De Capo Press, 1983, p27

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[14] Wagner,Constable Limited, op. cit, 617