Book Overview & Preview: Hermann Levi: From Brahms to Wagner

Written By The Wagnerian on Saturday, 17 November 2012 | 1:15:00 am

Available in print and electronic format. Alas, it is presently sitting in a  pile of very interesting books to be read. However, once we have manged to get to it we will provide a review.  There is a generous google preview included below.

978-0-8108-8418-2
June 2012
Pages: 296
Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
By Frithjof Haas
Translated by Cynthia Klohr


Jewish conductor Hermann Levi strove for excellence and recognition as a composer and conductor of classical music in 19th-century Germany. He unerringly devoted himself to the orchestral performance of works by the two major figures of the time: Johannes Brahms and Richard Wagner. In spite of the anti-Semitic atmosphere, Levi saw the conducting of Wagner's works as a major calling: one that pinnacled in the premier performance of Parsifal in Bayreuth.



In this biography, newly translated into English by Cynthia Klohr, opera scholar and conductor Fritjof Haas surveys the life and work of this remarkable individual. Born of a long line of rabbis and raised on the ideals of political emancipation of Europe's Jews, Levi sought to break the social constraints and boundaries imposed upon him because of his religious heritage by the power brokers of the classical music scene. Like so many German Jews of his generation, Levi struggled nearly all his life to dissolve the battle between personal lot and social prejudice.

Drawing on the wealth of material from the "Leviana" repository in Munich, Germany, Haas artfully weaves together Levi's personal history with his musical milieu to paint a portrait of this ambitious and ambivalent figure in the world of 19th-century German music. This work will be of special interest to musicologists, musicians, opera fans, classical music listeners, and historians and scholars of Judaic studies.