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Rchard Wagner (Coursework Sample)

Instructions:

Description
Richard Wagner is a controversial figure in music history. Some call him the greatest opera composer in history, while others see him as an anti-Semite whose music supported Nazi ideals. Still, his legacy in drama and storytelling is unmistakable.
Assignment
Read this article on The Wagner Controversy.http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/mfa-archive/1998/pages/the%20wagner%20controversy.aspx
Be sure to consider both sides of the argument.
Now watch this video of Wagner's famous Ride of the Valkyries.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aKAH_t0aXA
Then listen to this other famous overture.http://www.televisiontunes.com/Star_Wars.html
Finally, read this article on Wagner and connections to Star Wars https://houstonsymphony.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/before-luke-skywalker-there-was-siegfried/
Respond to the following prompts:
What did Wagner say about Jewish music in 1850 that helped lead to the controversy?
What does Manfred Eger blame Wagner's antisemitic rages on?
What happened in 1981 when the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra tried to play Wagner's music?
Do you think that the negative reactions that many Jews have toward Wagner's music are justified? Why or why not?
What are the main characteristics of Wagner's music?
Do you like Wagner's music? Why or why not?
Does knowledge of Wagner's political beliefs change your opinion of his music? Why or why not?
What are the similarities you can hear between Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" and John Williams' "Star Wars March"? What differences can you detect?
What is your take on the article comparing Star Wars with Wagner's Ring Cycle? Do you think George Lucas intentionally copied the story? Does this mean he was plagiarizing?

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Content:
Firstname Lastname
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Richard Wagner
What did Wagner say about Jewish music in 1850 that helped lead to the controversy?
Wagner referred the Jewish music as bereft of all expressions, which was characterized by coldness and indifference, nonsense and triviality. According to him, he claimed that the Jew had no passion for impelling him to artistic creation. Wagner further argues that the Jew composer makes a confused heap of the forms and styles of all ages and masters.
What does Manfred Eger blame Wagner's anti-Semitic rages on?
Manfred Eger tries to prove that the roots of Hitler’s anti-Semitism did not originate from Wagner. However, he blames Wagner’s anti-Semitic rages on jealousy. Eger tries to show Wagner’s jealousy over the operatic triumphs of another Jewish composer, his contemporary, Giacomo Meyerbeer.
What happened in 1981 when the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra tried to play Wagner's music?
Commotion broke out, and the audience shouted aiming to silence the music. In the introduction, Mehta made a short speech where he talked about Israel as democracy whereby all music had the right to be played. Also, he said that in case anyone was not pleased by the music he or she had the right to walk away. In the audience were elderly members who quietly walked away. Even though the audience run threateningly to the stage while protesting noisily, the music was still played to the end.
Do you think that the negative reactions that many Jews have toward Wagner's music are justified? Why or why not?
Their negative reactions towards Wagner’s music are unjustifiable; the Jews should try to treat differently Wagner’s music and his world view. He was a great composer but, on the other hand, his ideology and anti-Semitism was terrible.
What are the main characteristics of Wagner's music?
Instead of free key centers, the harmony changes restlessly. The mature operas are scripted with uninterrupted music instead of songs be separated out. Each and every single character that Wagner uses has their theme.
Do you like Wagner's music? Why or why not?
Yes, I do like Wagner’s music. He uses extreme chromaticism and shifting tonal centers led to the innovations of atonalism in the early 20th century. Wagner possesses excellent theoretical ideas in his music that resulted in the rise of the all-powerful st...
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