Essay on The Life of Wilhelm Richard Wagner

Wilhelm Richard Wagner was one of the greatest opera writers of all time. He helped to take opera to a whole new level from even Verdi and Puccini. Some say that Wagner was very egotistic, however; “his extreme egotism rested on conviction, Wagner had the ability to do great things” (Colles 207). He was extraordinary at composing music as well as formulating words. He was not a prodigy however his musical skills surpassed many other composers from his time period.Richard Wagner was the son of Frau Karl Fredrich Wilhelm Wagner (Jacobs 1). He was born the youngest on May 22, 1813 in the town of Leipzig (Colles 205). Six months after Richard’s birth the Napoleonic War came to Leipzig (Jacobs 1). Because of the war there were many dead bodies that were not berried and therefore Richard’s father contracted and died of typhoid fever (Jacobs 1). Shortly after his father’s death Wagner’s mother got remarried to an actor named Geyer and the family moved to Dresden (Colles 205). Wagner began his schooling in Dresden at the age of nine (Colles 205). Being in school Wagner loved language he was drawn to poetry (Colles 205). He loved to read translations of Shakespeare and he even learned the English language (Colles 205). Before he was exposed to a lot music he even attempted to write his own tragedies based on Greek drama and Shakespeare (Colles 205). It seems that all of the literature that Wagner read helped to foster his creativeness.

One of the earliest musical influences Wagner had was Carl Maria von Weber (Colles 205). Weber was a friend with the Geyer family and therefore Wagner was able to see musicianship on a first hand basis. The family soon moved back to Leipzig, and through this move Wagner was able to expe…

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… than as a conjurer of fancies and emotions. When he heard the fifths of the violins he beheld ghosts. When he saw Weber conduct, what impressed him was not the music, but Weber’s gestures as personification of the music.”Wagner was a phenomenal composer and writer he put himself out there and he was seen as extraordinary. He may have and several issues in his life but he channeled them extremely well and showed musicians that it is good to channel yourself into your own music.Works Cited

Bonds, Mark. “Composer Profile.” A History of Music in Western Culture. Third. London: Prentice Hall, 2010. Print.Colles, H.C. From Bach to Stravinsky. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1933. 205-227.Print.Jacobs, Robert. Wagner. London: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd., 1947. Print.Newman, Ernest. Wagner as Man and Artist. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1952. Print.


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