terça-feira, 21 de maio de 2013

The Wagnerian Bomb

Taking everything into consideration, I could  never have survived my youth without Wagnerian music. For I was condemned to the society of Germans. If a man wish to get rid of a feeling of insufferable oppression, he has to take to hashish. Well, I had to take to Wagner. Wagner is the counter-poison to everything essentially German — the fact that he is a poison too, I do not deny. From the moment that Tristan was arranged for the piano— all honour to you, Herr von Biilow ! — I was a Wagnerite. Wagner's previous works seemed beneath me — they were too commonplace, too " German." . . .

But to this day I am still seeking for a work which would be a match to Tristan in dangerous fascination, and possess the same gruesome and dulcet quality of infinity ; I seek among all the arts in vain. All the quaint features of Leonardo da Vinci's work lose their charm at the sound of the first bar in Tristan. This work is without question Wagner's non plus ultra ; after its creation, the composition of the Mastersingers and of the Ring was a relaxation to him. To become more healthy — this in a nature like Wagner's amounts to going backwards. The curiosity of the psychologist is so great in me, that I regard it as quite a special privilege to have lived at the right time, and to have lived precisely among Germans, in order to be ripe for this work.

The world must indeed be empty for him who has never been unhealthy enough for this " infernal voluptuousness " : it is allowable, it is even imperative, to employ a mystic formula for this purpose. I suppose I know better than any one the prodigious feats of which Wagner was capable, the fifty worlds of strange ecstasies to which no one else had wings to soar; and as I am alive to-day and strong enough to turn even the most suspicious and most dangerous things to my own advantage, and thus to grow stronger, I declare Wagner to have been the greatest benefactor of my life.

The bond which unites us is the fact that we have suffered greater agony, even at each other's hands, than most men are able to bear
nowadays, and this will always keep our names associated in the minds of men. For, just as Wagner is merely a misunderstanding among Germans, so, in truth, am I, and ever will be. Ye lack two centuries of psychological and artistic discipline, my dear countrymen ! . . . But ye can never recover the time lost.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Why Am I So Wise (Ecce Homo, 1888)

Wagner - Tristan und Isolde - Thielemann - 2 - Liebestod

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