In London last June, walking back from Quaker Meeting at Friends House on Euston Road, a lovely Sunday afternoon was made even lovelier by the discovery of Judd Books, on Marchmont Street in Bloomsbury. There, amid the used and dusty books, I found Wagner: A Case History, by Martin van Amerongen. I not only did not have this 1983 volume in my library; I did not even know of its existence, and at...
Contrary to the enthusiastic reception at the time, I left the 2017 installation at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum titled “Opera: Passion, Power and Politics” somewhat intrigued but hardly bowled over. The artifacts and visual slides that the exhibit included seemed familiar by and large; the mandatory headphones piped in recordings of performances and rehearsals […]
As a boundless admirer of Wagner’s art and of much of his artistic thought, I vacillate between horror and laughter when I encounter fragments of his writing on social and philosophical matters. A recent reading of Leon Stein’s The Racial Thinking of Richard Wagner (1950) prompted the latter response. Outside of the world of music […]
Roger Scruton’s most recent book, The Ring of Truth, is densely packed with insight. His discussion, very early into the book, of the influences of J.G. Fichte in the moral and philosophical world in which Siegfried struggles for “freedom and individuality” were entirely new to me and very much valued. Among the many helpful analyses […]
While in Bayreuth this past August I paid my first visit in five years to Wahnfried, and was delighted to find that it had not been eviscerated, which the construction site a few years ago seemed to presage. I miss the chairs, the piped-music and the tranquility of the great room that I first entered […]