The Life of Richard Wagner, Volume 4: 1866-1883
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Ernest Newman's four-volume Life of Wagner, originally published between 1933 and 1947, remains a classic work of biography. The culmination of forty years' research on the composer and his works (Newman's first Study of Wagner was first published in 1899), these books present a detailed portrait of perhaps the most influential, the most controversial and the most frequently reviled composer in the whole history of western music. Newman was aware that no biography can ever claim to be complete or completely accurate: 'The biographer can at no stage hope to have reached the final truth. All he can do is to make sure that whatever statement he may make, whatever conclusion he may come to, shall be based on the whole of the evidence available at the time of writing.' In this aim he triumphantly succeeds.
Volume IV completes the story from 1866 to Wagner's death in 1883. It covers the composition of Die Meistersinger and Parsifal, the completion of the Ring, Wagner's marriage to Cosima Liszt von Bülow, and the building of Bayreuth.
11th September. What he thought of it all is indicated by the fact that when his Paris bankers got into touch with Germany again after the war he instructed them to pay Cosima’s allowance, as before, not to Frau Wagner but to Baroness von Bülow. Wagner was very angry over this “slight”, and Cosima had to break her long silence and write to her father in protest. 10 For his own disparaging comments on it see Vol. III, p. 448, note. 11 I cannot deny myself the pleasure of quoting Ashton Ellis’s
sent Röckel to me, to invite me to a conference with him; but I did not go. Röckel told me a number of things, from which I saw that W. had woven a pretty tissue of lies about Malvina. For all that he graciously offered to take steps to induce the King to restore her pension; and he was very much astonished and annoyed to learn that all this had been arranged already.” 18 The King, in fact, had relented: face had been saved by the restoration of the pension on condition that Malvina retired for
making a speech about me that was really moving. But Sch…… never stopped eating. He said to my wife, ‘I like this asparagus; give me some more of it’. What a glutton! I can’t stand gluttons!” This Sch…… was evidently Standhartner’s stepson Gustav Schönaich. He had done Wagner many a service in days gone by. 16 GAWM, p. 126. 17 The Hebefeier — the celebration of the reaching of the highest point of a building, with speeches, music and junketings for the workmen — took place on the 2nd August,
that Förster should attend the first cycle of the Ring and Neumann the second. But Förster was so prejudiced against the work by some of the more rabid critics whom he met at Bayreuth that on his return he pronounced it to be quite impossible elsewhere, except, perhaps, so far as the Valkyrie was concerned. Neumann, with his hands full at the moment with the affairs of his own theatre, thereupon gave up the idea of going to Bayreuth. But by the merest accident he met at supper a man who had just
that the latter would be doing him a great favour if he would use his position at the Leipzig Theatre “to see that my operas are never given there again”. This Laube affair, by the way, was not the only one in which Wagner tried to use Richter as his own little private quisling. One further example of the enmity towards him in certain German circles may be given here. Some years after the events just recorded, an article by Cornelius with the title of German Art and Richard Wagner, in which a