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Subject: Re: Wagner and anti-Semitism
From: Donald Kane <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Donald Kane <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 22 Nov 2008 11:47:17 -0500
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Exactly what is the bottom line here: burn the scores?

Donald Kane

-----Original Message-----
From: Discussion of opera and related issues
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Arne
Steinberg
Sent: Saturday, November 22, 2008 11:15 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Wagner and anti-Semitism


I found Gualtier Maldè’s comment posted on ‘19th Century
anti-Semitism,’ “I
don't want to whitewash Wagner's anti-semitism because he
made it into part
of an aesthetic movement with his writings” to be quite
incomprehensible.

Wagner was a cut-and-dried functional antisemite, a crucial
force in the
reversal of democratic progress in Nineteenth Century
Europe. It is possible
that without Wagner and those who fostered his ideas,
Hitlerism might not, in
a later generation, have attained its mass-appeal. It was
Wagner, more than
any other individual, who lent legitimacy to racism in a
pre-Hitler era that bore
the promise of expanded human rights for all.

Contrary to the familiar contention, Wagner's anti-Semitism
was not a
reflection of the prevailing prejudices of his time and
milieu.
Wagner’s three decades of anti-Semitism transformed the
traditional
nineteenth century church sponsored semi-benign
anti-Semitism to a racial
idiom, a question of blood that eventually led to the
slaughter of six million
Jews.

Attempting to level the playing field for Wagner and his
virulent anti-Semitism,
Maldé attemptis a quasi indictment of Verdi, equating Verdi’
s use of the word
Jew in describing a contractual agreement with his publisher
as equal to
Wagner’s three decades of  virulent anti-Semitism.

The question is --why should we put up with such clichés
ignoring the
information now so readily available in a plethora of new
books on Wagner the
man and his effect on 20 century Germany.

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