The Composer Who Was Also a Disease

Great story about Richard Wagner, the classical composer.  This is from The Guardian:

Reports may seem far-fetched that a German production of Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser, feted as a highlight of the 200th-anniversary celebrations of his birth this month, have taken such a heavy psychological toll on members of the Düsseldorf audience that some have needed medical attention.

But in his day, the German composer was held responsible for a lot more than fainting and heart palpitations: his works were viewed as a threat not only to the health of musicians and listeners but also to any society that was trying to uphold order.

“No musician’s music was seen as such a potentially dangerous stimulant as Wagner’s,” says James Kennaway, a historian specialising in music and medicine. “While the Nazis famously saw him as a model of musical health, at no time before or since the 1800s has one figure so dominated the debate on music as a pathogen as Wagner.”

Continue reading.  Thanks to John for the link.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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