The most significant essay written during these years is undoubtedly Beethoven (1870), described by the author as a tribute to Beethoven in the centenary year of his birth, but in reality one of the principal aesthetic statements of Wagner’s later years.
Despite the enormous and accelerating worldwide interest in Wagner leading to the bicentenary of his birth in 2013, his prose writings have received scant scholarly attention. Wagner’s book-length essay on Beethoven, written to celebrate the centenary of Beethoven’s birth in 1870, is really about Wagner himself rather than Beethoven. It is generally regarded as the principal aesthetic statement of the composer’s later years, representing a reassessment of the ideas of the earlier Zurich writings, especially , in the light of the experience gained through the composition of and the greater part of . It contains Wagner’s most complete exegesis of his understanding of Schopenhauer’s philosophy and its perceived influence on the compositional practice of his later works. The essay also influenced the young Nietzsche. It is an essential text in the teaching of not only Wagnerian thought but also late nineteenth-century musical aesthetics in general.
Wagner essay on beethoven - Beauty-Pass
In his lecture entitled ‘Richard Wagner’s Beethoven: Essay on the Philosophy of Music or Self-Portrait’, Dr Allen will draw on the primary research done in preparation for his recently published translation and (2014) to consider the extent to which Wagner’s ideas represent a reassessment of the ideas of the earlier Zurich essays, in particular Opera and Drama (1851) in the light of the experienced gained through the composition of Tristan und Isolde (1865) and Die Meistersinger (1868).