3. Resources

Der Ring des Nibelungen


Das Rheingold:


Die Walküre:



(ACT 1&2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Y2-aiKrvAw

(ACT 3) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOjBYl7l1qw



Anna Russell:



The Ring and I:



My Life – Richard Wagner, 1911, Constable London

Cosima Wagner’s Diaries – Ed. Martin Grego-Dellin & Dietrich Mack, 1980, Collins

Letters of Richard Wagner, ‘The Burrell Collection’ – Ed. John N Burk, 1972, Vienna House

The Wagner Clan – Jonathan Carr, 2007, ISBN 978-0-571-20790-9

The Darker Side of Genius – Jacob Katz, 1986, University Press of New England

Aspects of Wagner – Bryan Magee, Panther, 1968, Granada Publishing

Wagner As I Knew Him – Ferdinand Praeger, 1892, Longmans, Green & Co

Wagner & Nietzsche – Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, 1976, Sidgwick & Jackson

Wagner’s Ring and its Symbols – Robert Donington, 1963, Faber & Faber

Wagner, Rehearsing the ‘Ring’ – Heinrich Porges, 1876, Cambridge University Press

Why Mahler? – Norman Lebrecht, 2010, ISBN 978-0-571-26079-9

Fact And Fiction About Wagner – Ernest Newman, 1931, Cassell & Co Ltd

Richard Wagner and the Jews – Milton E. Brewer, 1930, McFarland & Co. Inc., ISBN 0-7864-2370-6

Forbidden Music, Jewish Composers Banned By The Nazis – Michael Haas, 2013, Yale University Press, ISBN978-0-300-20535-0


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Next talk:  Sunday 3rd April 2016 7.30pm


DEREK WILLIAMS: Wagner and the Third Reich

Long before Richard Wagner emerged as a political and theatrical figure around the time of Bismarck’s 1871 German unification, which gave full citizenship to Germany’s Jewish minority, antisemitism was already ubiquitous and entrenched.  Martin Luther in his 1543 treatise On Jews and their Lies, had urged that rabbis be forbidden to preach, their prayer books destroyed, Jewish synagogues, schools and homes set afire, and that the Jews’ money and property should be confiscated.  They should be shown neither kindness nor mercy, nor should they be afforded legal protection.  Luther wrote that “these poisonous envenomed worms” should be either permanently expelled or drafted into forced labour.  When he wrote, “we are at fault in not slaying them”, Luther was in effect advocating genocide.

Against this iniquitous background, Wagner’s antisemitism is comprehensively set, not only in contemporary literature, but by himself in his twice published treatise Das Judenthum in der Musik, alongside other writings and personal correspondence.  Nevertheless, prominent Jews numbered amongst Wagner’s closest friends, for example, his favourite conductor, Hermann Levi, who conducted ParsifaI, Wagner’s paean to Christianity, and who was invited to be a pallbearer at the master’s funeral.

In light of his toxic and verbose animus towards all things Jewish, what sort of intimate conversations could Richard Wagner possibly be expected to have been able to have with Jews in his circle of friends, and what sort of discourse might he have enjoyed with the likes of his great admirer, Adolf Hitler?  Would Wagner have approved of the Third Reich and all it connoted?

Derek Williams is on the Associated Staff of The University of Edinburgh as a lecturer/tutor in music.  He has had a lifelong interest in the works of Richard Wagner, and was influenced by Wagner’s opus in the construction of his own opera, Wilde alongside two other operas currently under constructionHe was responsible for running Edinburgh University’s Wagner Week last year and will do so again this coming year.

Alongside his career as an educator, Derek has been self-employed variously as composer, conductor, musical director and record producer for a range of international clients, and has been orchestrator, associate composer and musician for 21 feature films, television documentaries, mini series, and 15 album titles.  He has been a frequent conductor of studio orchestras, and many of the media to which he has contributed have themselves achieved critical and popular acclaim, including BAFTA Award, Best Film Score, an Oscar, platinum record sales as well as an Australian Aria Award nomination.  He has performed extensively as keyboardist, and as musical director for independent productions.

Derek’s current major commission is to compose a new symphony in 4 movements for the Orchestra of the Canongait.

Further information at:  www.derekwilliams.net (link is external)

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