Wagner: antisemitic pig

April 1, 2007

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Most of us have heard that Richard Wagner was antisemitic and was one of Hitler’s mentors for his own antisemitic scheme, but I for one had never actually read anything he actually said or wrote. This is not the thing music history classes teach–or at least the ones I took. I stumbled across this quote in Lisa Summer’s book “Music: The New Age Elixir.” In case you want to read more [I don’t], the quote is taken from “Richard Wagner: Stories and Essays” by Charles Osborne (London: Peter Owen, 1973; p.26). These comments were written after the premature death of Felix Mendelssohn:

“He showed us that a Jew can possess the greatest talents, the finest and most varied culture, the highest and most delicate sense of honour, and that none of these qualities can help him even once to move us to these depths of our being as we expect to be moved by art, and as we are when one of our own great [Aryan] artists simply opens his mouth to speak to us. It can be left to technical critics, who have probably reached the same conclusions as we have, to confirm, by reference to Mendelssohn’s music, the undoubted truth of our remarks.”

The new music world recoiled in horror when Karlheinz Stockhausen referred to the 9/11 tragedy as one of the greatest works of art ever. The ever-sensitive American Christians burned Beatle records after John Lennon flippantly remarked in an interview that they were more popular than Jesus. Composers say stupid things from time to time, but the world seems to forgive and forget. The Israel Philharmonic forgave ol’ piggy Dick and perform his work once again. The rock world has sanctified John Lennon in the pantheon of rock gods and forgiven his trespasses as they forgive others. But after reading the Wagner quote above, I couldn’t help pass this on to my readers so they can make their own decision about Wagner, the antisemitic pig.

Oink.

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