Richard Wagner Books To Be Published in 2013: A list and overview

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday, 28 April 2013 | 4:34:00 pm

Given  that 2013 is Wagner's Bicentenary, it should come as no surprise that we should see a plethora of books about "the most written about composer in history". With that in mind, we thought it was time to provide an overview of what you might expect in the next 6 months. And trust us the range of material is vast: from reprints of Ernest Newman's 4 volume set The Life of Richard Wagner to Terry Quinn's optimistically titled "Richard Wagner: The Lighter Side" to Chris Walton's translation of Eva Rieger's, "Friedelind Wagner: Richard Wagner's Rebellious Granddaughter". Given that most of these are to be published at some stage in the future - and the vast length of many - it has not been possible to review all of them as yet. Thus the commentary below is mainly from the publishers.



The Wagner Experience and its Meaning to Us - the two-volume bicentenary celebration.
Paul Dawson-Bowling

Hardcover: 760 pages
Publisher: Old Street Publishing (7 May 2013)
ISBN-10: 1908699434

In this bicentenary celebration of Wagner and his music, Paul Dawson-Bowling introduces, deepens and enriches the Wagner Experience for the newcomer and the seasoned Wagnerian alike. Expounding in colourful style the stories, the sources and the lessons of Wagner’s great dramas, he offers unusual insights into the man, his works and their meaning, while grappling with the music’s almost occult power.




The Life of Richard Wagner 4 Volume Paperback Set
1813–1883
Ernest Newman


4 Paperback books
Series: Cambridge Library Collection - Music (May 15)
ISBN:9781108007733

Available as a box-set and 4 individual Paperbacks (no covers made available by publisher as yet)

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.



Wagner's Melodies:  Aesthetics and Materialism in German Musical Identity
David Trippett, University of Cambridge


Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (31 May 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1107014301
ISBN-13: 978-1107014305

Since the 1840s, critics have lambasted Wagner for lacking the ability to compose melody. But for him, melody was fundamental – 'music's only form'. This incongruity testifies to the surprising difficulties during the nineteenth century of conceptualizing melody. Despite its indispensable place in opera, contemporary theorists were unable even to agree on a definition for it. In Wagner's Melodies, David Trippett re-examines Wagner's central aesthetic claims, placing the composer's ideas about melody in the context of the scientific discourse of his age: from the emergence of the natural sciences and historical linguistics to sources about music's stimulation of the body and inventions for 'automatic' composition. Interweaving a rich variety of material from the history of science, music theory, music criticism, private correspondence and court reports, Trippett uncovers a new and controversial discourse that placed melody at the apex of artistic self-consciousness and generated problems of urgent dimensions for German music aesthetics.



Wagner's Parsifal (Studies in Musical Genesis, Structure, and Interpretation)


Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: OUP USA (Jun 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0195366921

William Kinderman's detailed study of Parsifal, described by the composer as his "last card," explores the evolution of the text and music of this inexhaustible yet highly controversial music drama across Wagner's entire career, and offers a reassessment of the ideological and political history of Parsifal, shedding new light on the connection of Wagner's legacy to the rise of National Socialism in Germany. The compositional genesis is traced through many unfamiliar manuscript sources, revealing unsuspected models and veiled connections to Wagner's earlier works. Fresh analytic perspectives are revealed, casting the dramatic meaning of Parsifal in a new light. Much debated aspects of the work, such as Kundry's death at the conclusion, are discussed in the context of its stage history. Path-breaking as well is Kinderman's analysis of the religious and ideological context of Parsifal. During the half-century after the composer's death, the Wagner family and the so-called Bayreuth circle sought to exploit Wagner's work for political purposes, thereby promoting racial nationalism and anti-Semitism. Hitherto unnoticed connections between Hitler and Wagner's legacy at Bayreuth are explored here, while differences between the composer's politics as an 1849 revolutionary and the later response of his family to National Socialism are weighed in a nuanced account. Kinderman combines new historical research, sensitive aesthetic criticism, and probing philosophical reflection in this most intensive examination of Wagner's culminating music drama.



Richard Wagner: His Life and his Dramas; a Biographical Study of the Man and an Explanation of his Work 
William James Henderson

Paperback: 518 pages
Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (3 Jun 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1108062458

The American music critic and lecturer William James Henderson (1855–1937) wrote for The New York Times and The New York Sun, provided the libretto for Walter Damrosch's opera Cyrano (1913) and authored fiction, poetry, sea stories and a textbook on navigation. He also taught at the New York College of Music and the Institute of Musical Art. Taking up the cause of Wagner with considerable understanding, he published this substantial work in 1902, barely twenty years after the composer's death. It is an illuminating account of Wagner's life and artistic aims, complemented by an insightful analysis of each of his music dramas from Rienzi to Parsifal. Its purpose, states Henderson, 'is to supply Wagner lovers with a single work which shall meet all their needs'. With Ernest Newman's Study of Wagner (1899), also reissued in this series, it reflects the composer's contemporary popularity.



Richard Wagner: New Light on a Musical Life [Paperback]
John Louis DiGaetani

Paperback: 275 pages
Publisher: McFarland & Co Inc (15 Jun 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0786445440

No further information as we go to press. But DiGaetani is a noted publisher and writer of books about Wagner and his works.





Richard Wagner (Critical Lives) [Paperback]
Ray Furness

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Reaktion Books (1 Sep 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1780231822

Few of the great composers can claim a body of work as influential and contentious as Richard Wagner; his life and compositions remain intertwined with the great upheavals of his time, and this often obscures a dispassionate critical assessment of his output. In Richard Wagner Raymond Furness provides a clear and balanced view of Wagner's great achievements, without neglecting the controversies in his life and art. Using the composer's wide-ranging engagement with mythology as his starting point, Furness explores Wagner's music and extensive literary output. As well as giving the reader a clear insight into The Ring and Wagner's other essential works, the book also deals with often-neglected fragments such as 'Wieland the Smith', 'The Mines at Falun' and 'The Visitors', providing a more rounded critical picture of a composer whose great operatic works often overshadow the rest of his canon. Containing up-to-date dissections of recent Bayreuth productions and a refreshingly uncluttered approach to a much-misunderstood life, Furness's Richard Wagner will engage both those new to the life of the composer, as well as his many life-long devotees.



Parsifal Unveiled: The Meaning of Richard Wagner's Masterpiece [Paperback]
Samael Aun Weor

Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: Glorian Publishing (Oct 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1934206911

"When religion becomes artificial, art has a duty to rescue it. Art can show that the symbols which religions would have us believe literally true are actually figurative. Art can idealize those symbols, and so reveal the profound truths they contain." - Richard Wagner

Parsifal, the epic, final opera by Richard Wagner, stunned audiences and set the stage for the decline of modern civilization. For more than one hundred years, Parsifal has been one of the most controversial dramatic works in the world, not only moving the world's top composers and writers to tears and inspiring generations of creative geniuses, but it was also admired by Adolf Hitler.

Wagner's retelling of the myth of the Holy Grail and the knights who protect it showed the secret path to liberation from suffering, but no one understood it. Wagner himself never explained Parsifal, and in his wake thousands of writers, critics, and artists have attempted to penetrate its mysteries yet have failed, since they were not initiated into the secret tradition it came from. Finally, in this book by Samael Aun Weor, the meaning of Parsifal is fully revealed, and the genius and spiritual accomplishments of Richard Wagner are made radiantly clear.

"The year 1914 will always be a memorable date among the remarkable dates of this humanity, because of the explosion of the First World War and the simultaneous debut of Parsifal in all the civilized world." - Samael Aun Weor

A large number of sample chapters are available at the publishers website here




Richard Wagner: The Lighter Side [Paperback]
Terry Quinn 

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Limelight Editions (15 Oct 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1574674412

Richard Wagner: The Lighter Side appeals to classical music and opera enthusiasts in general, but particularly the many thousands of members of the 135 Wagner Societies around the world. There are many books about every aspect of Wagner's life and works, but none has focused on the trivia, the interesting facts, anecdotes, and quotations about the man and his operas. For more than twenty years, Terry Quinn has collected information on each of Wagner's 13 completed operas and the difficulties encountered in staging them; famous Wagnerian directors, conductors, and singers; key persons in the composer's life, especially the women, not to mention the dysfunctional Wagner family; Wagner's visits to London; the festival and theater he created in Bavaria; and a great deal more. Also included are interviews with current Wagnerian scholars. Richard Wagner: The Lighter Side contains more than 300 tidbits and features, ranging from a few paragraphs to several pages. The light side of the book is immediately apparent via its lively headings, as well as its fascinating tales of the fanatical enthusiasts who travel the world to see Wagner's operas performed. Illustrations include photographs, dozens of contemporary caricatures, beautiful postage stamps on Wagnerian subjects, and other reproductions of ephemera.



Friedelind Wagner: Richard Wagner's Rebellious Granddaughter [Hardcover]
 Eva Rieger (Author), Chris Walton (Translator)

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Boydell Press (17 Oct 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1843838648

She was not the 'black sheep' of her family, as often claimed, but a heroic rebel. Friedelind Wagner (1918-1991), Richard Wagner's independent-minded granddaughter, daughter of Siegfried and Winifred Wagner, despised her mother's close liaison with Adolf Hitler and was the only member of the Wagner clan who fled Germany in protest. Although Winifred warned her that the Nazis would 'exterminate' her, should she continue her open opposition, she travelled to London and published articles pillorying the Nazi élite. All the same, her former proximity to Hitler & Co. made her suspicious in the eyes of the authorities, who promptly interned her. Even the British Parliament debated her fate. Only with the help of the world-famous conductor Arturo Toscanini was she able to gain an exit visa. Once she arrived in New York she broadcast, lectured and published against the Nazis, wrote an autobiography, and became friends with many other emigrants including singers who had themselves abandoned Bayreuth. After the war the Mayor of Bayreuth asked her to run the Festival, but she declined in favour of her brothers. They showed little gratitude, however, for after Friedelind returned to Germany in 1953 she found herself manoeuvred out of any role in the Festival management. She still made a remarkable effort to find a niche in post-war German society and culture, and did her best to cope with a family notorious for its intrigues past and present. Friedelind Wagner remained a staunch friend of artists such as Wilhelm Furtwängler, Frida Leider, Otto Klemperer, Erich Kleiber, Leonard Bernstein, Walter Felsenstein, Michael Tilson Thomas and many others. Drawing on archival research in many countries, Eva Rieger has here written the first-ever biography of Richard Wagner's talented, artistic granddaughter who fought against Hitler's Germany, but achieved no personal success for her troubles. Her book gives many new insights into wartime and postwar musical life in Germany, Europe and the United States. EVA RIEGER is a feminist musicologist and author of many books on music.