[UCP Books]: Richard Wagner: A Life in Music

“Martin Geck’s major new study of Wagner’s oeuvre moves at a fast but engaging pace. . . . The book is studded with historical insights, not least because Geck capitalizes on little-known diary entries, letters, and documentary evidence that imbue his readings with genuinely fresh perspectives.”
Laurence Dreyfus, author of Wagner and the Erotic Impulse

 

Richard Wagner
A Life in Music
Martin Geck

Translated by Stewart Spencer

Publication date: October 15, 2013 Cloth $35.00/£24.50
International publication date: October 28, 2013   ISBN-13: 978-0-226-92461-8


Best known for the challenging four-opera cycle The Ring of the Nibelung, Richard Wagner (1813–83) was a conductor, librettist, theater director, and essayist, in addition to being the composer of some of the most enduring operatic works in history. Though his influence on the development of European music is indisputable, Wagner was also quite outspoken on the politics and culture of his time. His ideas traveled beyond musical circles into philosophy, literature, theater staging, and the visual arts. To befit such a dynamic figure, acclaimed biographer Martin Geck offers here a Wagner biography unlike any other, one that strikes a unique balance between the technical musical aspects of Wagner’s compositions and his overarching understanding of aesthetics.
 
There are few, if any, scholars today who know more about Wagner and his legacy than Geck, who builds upon his extensive research and considerable knowledge as one of the editors of the Complete Works to offer a distinctive appraisal of the composer and the operas. Using a wide range of sources, from contemporary scholars to the composer’s own words, Geck explores key ideas in Wagner’s life and works, while always keeping the music in the foreground. Geck discusses not only all the major operas, but also several unfinished operas and even the composer’s early attempts at quasi-Shakespearean drama.
 
Martin Geck is professor of musicology at the Technical University of Dortmund, Germany. His other books include Johann Sebastian Bach: Life and Work and Robert Schumann: The Life and Work of a Romantic ComposerStewart Spencer is an independent scholar and the translator of more than three dozen books. Please contact Carrie Olivia Adams at (773) 702-4216 or cadams@press.uchicago.edu

 

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