Richard Wagner And The Jews

I have a feeling that the subject will be discussed for as long as humans are still listening to music. Daniel Barenboim is the latest to weigh in: ‘Richard Wagner was a virulent anti-Semite of the worst kind whose statements are unforgivable. The reasons for his anti-Semitism lay partly in the success of his Jewish contemporaries Felix Mendelssohn and Giacomo Meyerbeer. Some of the negative characteristics Wagner accused the Jews of possessing — egotism and preoccupation with their own advantage — he in fact shared, and they moved him to make certain exceptions to his own anti-Semitic convictions. Without Hermann Levi he would not have found such a brilliant conductor for his “Parsifal”; and without Joseph Rubinstein, a piano score of “Lohengrin” might not have existed in Wagner’s lifetime.’

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