too much nature in New York

Henry C.K. Liu hliu at
Fri Dec 11 15:20:17 PST 1998


Careful what you say about Wagner. Richard Wagner was the greatest composer ever. Der Ring des Nibelungen, began in 1848 when Wagner was 35, was not only revolutionary musically and operatically. George Bernard Shaw, Fabian socialist, born 1856, as music critic for the Star in 1888, for he World in 1890, praise Des Ring as not only the greatest opera, but also as a revolutionary work of art on the contemporary society, in Helgelian. dialectic and Marxist mode, a powerful allegorical statement of the corrupting and destructive effect of greed and the lust for power which have renounced the universal principle of love. He wrote on vegetarianism, alcoholism, vivisection , humanism, Christianity, Buddhism, theosophy, nationalism, culture and of course music. In the first version of Der Ring, Wagner the socialist depicted capitalism, represented by the Giants, oppress the workers. Wotan, the leader of the Gods, portrays the pessimism of Schopenhauer. In his theoretical writings: Art of the Future and Opera an Drama, Wagner the democrat gave elaborate expositions of his ideals that only through popular art can a nation of diverse heritage be completely integrated. Despite all his contradictions, it was with Wagner that German musical Romanticism was to be most fully realized. Schuman belonged to the bourgeois school of Romantics and the sentimental school of Beidermeir poets which had its root in the age of Napoleon. The fact that Hitler liked Wagner's music does not make Wagner fascistic, any more than weddings playing Wagner's Wedding March facist proceedings. In 1848, Wagner became involved in the Saxon revolutionary movement and actually manned barricades in an insurrection in Dresden. On the failure of the revolution, he had to flee to Weimar and with the help of Liszt on to Zurich where he began the Ring cycle. The blemishes in Wagner's life were his alleged racism and anti-Semitism. Yet well respected Jewish musicians have separated the genius of his music from his misguided affliction. After all Wagner was merely a product of 19th century Europe.


Enzo Michelangeli wrote:

> But my point is that Malthus did not see a way either: still, _thanks_ to
> industrialization and intensive agriculture, the Earth can now support a
> much larger pupulation than during his times. Yes, the habitat for some
> species will shrink, and if we are concerned about the preservation we may
> always keep a few parks (or, in a few decades, map their genoma on DVDROM
> for future reconstruction should if we should really miss them). The really
> serious danger for the future of humanity is to listen to the enemies of
> development, and retreat in the nostalgic attitude that Marx rightly
> attributed to "reactionists". (A remarkable thing never to forget is that
> many exponents of the first historical reaction against Enlightenment,
> Romanticism, became the ideological precursors of modern fascism: Novalis,
> Schlegel, Fichte, down to Wagner).

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