Certainly there are few cultural figures as divisive as the composer, polemicist, dramatist and conductor born in Leipzig on 22 May The extremity and the force of his genius altered forever the course of the art form in a way that only a handful of others — Bach, Beethoven, Schoenberg — have ever done. This year it will be harder than ever to avoid not just the Ride of the Valkyries and the Bridal March, but everything else besides. From Sydney to London, New York to Berlin, Melbourne to Seattle, Milan to Bayreuth, his work — which is not exactly neglected in other years — is at the forefront of programming everywhere.
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Sign in Register. News Guardian. Can we forgive him? Richard Wagner was a great composer - but also a virulent anti-semite. As the Wagner festival at Bayreuth opens, Adrian Mourby asks whether we can play his music with a clear conscience Friday 21 July The Guardian Around years ago, a failed composer and revolutionary used an assumed name to publish his latest page pamphlet. Although Richard Wagner's ideas were to find their final form 20 years later in his opera cycle The Ring, his early attempts at philosophy reflect recognisably Wagnerian concerns: that nature is destroyed by industry; that it is unnatural to pursue power at the expense of love; that capitalism is corrupt; that the state often at odds with the people; that we live in an age where entertainment is considered more important than art. Nothing much to argue with there.
Richard Wagner is without a doubt the most divisive composer ever to have existed. Why so much hate? Richard Wagner is a controversial name in classical music history, due to his views, his character, but also his music. Loved by many, hated by many, the music of the German composer is not the easiest to approach.