Tuesday, November 29, 2022
Miles from the Mainstream
D. R. ZUKERMAN, proprietor
Wagner's Influence

November 5, 2022 --

It has been said that if Richard Wagner had lived in the 20th century, he would have composed music for movies. Here is music for a scene in Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo," starring James Steward and Kim Novak. The music is by the great Hollywood film composer Bernard Herrmann whose score for this film was clearly influenced by Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. What is fascinating about this link is that the conductor is the great film composer John Williams, who was influenced by Wagner through Herrmann (and others, including Mahler, himself influenced by Wagner). Such is Wagner's importance for so many composers who followed him, literally and figuratively (including Jewish composers -- let's not forget Erich Wolfgang Korngold), that his art MUST be separated from his unpleasant personality, which influenced Adolf Hitler from whom Korngold fled to the United States to avoid being consumed by the Holocaust. The story is told of an individual who wanted to arrange an exhibit featuring the music of Wagner and Herrmann but, knowing of Wagner's anti-Semitism, checked with Korngold's family before proceeding. They were enthusistic about the planned exhibit, proud that their relative was placed in the company of a musical genius.

Wagner's Influence On Movie Music

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Evidence of Wagner's Influence on composers, including Jewish composers.

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