Richard Wagner is said to be one of the most biographed (if one may coin the word) historical figures, alongside Napoleon. His music has been exhaustively analyzed, as have his writings. Yet there remains room for fresh approaches. For instance, Richard Wagner: A Mystic in the Making, by Alan David Aberbach (1991, Longwood Academic).
featuring a winged horse bestriding a rainbow beneath the crescent moon
(a nighttime rainbow, no less) seems appropriate to the esoteric subject matter treated within.
According to the preface, "no study
has tried to systematically explore the development and evolution of Wagner's religious, spiritual,
and mystic ideas." The two parts of the book are entitled
"Self-Realization" and "God-realization." The author touches on
Wagner's remarks on Jewishness (inevitably), as well as his brushes with
Sufism, Schopenhauer, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Meister Eckhart.
through the volume (which your correspondent intends to read some day)
suggests the thesis that, like Proust, Wagner came eventually to believe
in salvation through Art. This sort of mysticism may be well-tailored to
the artist, but: what about the rest of us? Happily there
remains garden-variety mysticism, which is so to speak an open book-- and
of course reading; though few can be famous composers, all may read
Next up: Anton Bruckner:Wagnerian toady or symphonic genius?
*Kamposer is a composer manqué and musical correspondent (plus book photographer) for Pistil Books.
2 hours ago