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Abstract

The purpose of this research is to obtain a deeper understanding of Richard Wagner’s philosophies on opera, connect the application of his philosophies to his compositions, and explore one of his non-operatic works, Siegfried-Idyll, through an extensive historical and musical analysis. Wagner held radical views of opera in his time and spoke out against them in his essays in the late 1840s and early 1850s. During this time, Wagner also devised his own concepts of opera during this time and articulated them in his prose works. Wagner’s concepts of a perfect artwork, a gesamtkunstwerk, were highly innovative and multifarious and were consequently implemented into his compositional style beginning in the 1850s. Over the course of the next thirty years, Wagner developed and enhanced this new compositional style based on his philosophies, ultimately maturing in his last opera. However, these philosophies also influenced his non-operatic works, namely his Siegfried-Idyll of 1870. Originally written for his newlywed wife, Siegfried-Idyll takes fragments from one of his operas and intersperses them within his own original German Romantic compositional style. At the same time, Wagner clings on to Classical forms and old Romantic language.

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