Richard Wagner: Self-Promotion and the Making of a Brand by Nicholas Vazsonyi

By Nicholas Vazsonyi

All sleek artists have needed to industry themselves indirectly. Richard Wagner could have performed it larger than an individual else. In a self-promotional attempt that started round 1840 in Paris, and lasted for the rest of his occupation, Wagner claimed convincingly that he was once the main German composer ever and the genuine successor of Beethoven. extra considerably, he was once an opera composer who declared that he was once no longer composing operas. as a substitute, throughout the 1850s, he mapped out a brand new course, conceiving of works that may holiday with culture and be actually 'brand new'. this can be the 1st learn to check the cutting edge ways that Wagner made himself a star, selling himself utilizing each ability on hand: autobiography, magazine articles, brief tales, newspaper bulletins, letters, even his operas themselves. Vazsonyi finds how Wagner created a distinct segment for his works within the crowded opera industry that is still distinct.

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T. A. Hoffmann’s short stories two decades later. Wagner’s immediate model may have been a “conte fantastique” titled “Le Dîner de Beethoven” by Jules Janin which appeared in the first issue of the Gazette musicale. 94 E. T. A. Hoffmann synthesized these discourses, writing both works of fiction about music, musicians and composers, as well as inaugurating a literary style of music criticism, centered around the person and work of the then living composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827). Wagner’s novella participates in the emergent “cult of Beethoven” reflected in numerous published “pilgrimages,” but also differs from all its predecessors and models.

See, for example, Wagner’s letter to Robert Schumann, January [recte: February] 3, 1842 (SB I: 573–9). Wagner, Der junge Wagner, 274. Gospel According to St. Matthew 19:24. ”37 Luther’s status as exemplary German seemed to confirm Tacitus’s observations about the virtues of the Germanic folk, observations which became crucial in the extended effort to (re-)construct a German national identity during the eighteenth century. Luther’s status as an exemplary author who did not seek to profit from his creative work was no less influential.

Also” signals the protagonist’s identification with Beethoven in apparent contradiction to the 109 110 “Diese Arbeiten haben mir nicht wenig geholfen, in Paris bekannt und beachtet zu werden” (SSD I: 17). “auch ein armer, deutscher Musiker” (SSD I: 92). Image religious awe suggested by the title “Pilgrimage,” and confirmed on a number of occasions throughout the novella. By making himself Beethoven’s equal, the protagonist grants himself the possibility of joining the hallowed. ” Wagner, R, and Beethoven, “poor German musicians” all.

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