Beyond Reason: Wagner contra Nietzsche

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Item: 9780520292758


Beyond Reason: Wagner contra Nietzsche
by Karol Berger (Author)

Beyond Reason relates Wagner’s works to the philosophical and cultural ideas of his time, centering on the four music dramas he created in the second half of his career: Der Ring des Nibelungen, Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Parsifal. Karol Berger seeks to penetrate the “secret” of large-scale form in Wagner’s music dramas and to answer those critics, most prominently Nietzsche, who condemned Wagner for his putative inability to weld small expressive gestures into larger wholes. Organized by individual opera, this is essential reading for both musicologists and Wagner experts.

Hardcover: 552 pages
Publisher: University of California Press (November 15, 2016)
Language: English

Editorial Reviews
From the Inside Flap
"This study is Wagnerian in its ambition and achievement. Karol Berger makes several astonishing claims: Wagnerians from Nietzsche through Dahlhaus have misunderstood the musical forms; Wagner derived his forms from Italian operatic models; and Nietzsche was wrong about the ideological import of the music dramas. Revisionist history at its very best."—Christopher Alan Reynolds, author of Wagner, Schumann, and the Lessons of Beethoven's Ninth

“For the first time in decades, Karol Berger is going back to the fundamental question of musical and compositional dramaturgy in Wagner. Now, in opposition to the discredited work of Alfred Lorenz and the important studies of Carl Dahlhaus, he finds a way to discuss compositional dramaturgy within intellectual history—defining Nietzsche not as a counterpart of Wagner but rather Wagner as a counterpart of Nietzsche. Beyond Reason is full of new and unexpected insights, and without doubt outstanding in every respect. Highly original and intellectually brilliant, it is a milestone in Wagner research."—Laurenz Lütteken, Chair of Musicology at the University of Zurich and editor of Wagner-Handbuch

About the Author
Karol Berger is the Osgood Hooker Professor in Fine Arts, Department of Music, Stanford University. His award-winning books include Musica Ficta; A Theory of Art; and Bach’s Cycle, Mozart’s Arrow.

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Music Notes

Most Western music is based on a system of notation that evolved around 1600 out of earlier practices. The starting point for any opera is the full score, which contains all individual voices and instruments arranged in a specific order on the page. The written music—representing the sounds a composer creates in his head—then comes to life performed by singers onstage and played by the orchestra.



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