Courting Oblivion

More insidious than Wagner’s hateful ideas are his passions, which reside in his music and stir answering passions in others.

January 26, 2015 | Nathan Shields
About the author: Nathan Shields, a composer whose works have been performed by various orchestras and chamber ensembles, is associate faculty at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. He earned his doctorate at the Juilliard School in New York, and has received fellowships from Tanglewood and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
This is a response to Wagner and the Jews, originally published in Mosaic in January 2015

Annette Dasch in a 2010 production of Lohengrin in Bayreuth. APN Photo/Eckehard Schulz.

I thank Edward Rothstein, Terry Teachout, and James Loeffler for their sympathetic and illuminating responses to my essay. They have raised a number of issues, like the sordid history of Nazi-era Bayreuth, and the dramatic significance and purported “Jewishness” of certain Wagnerian villains, that I think any adequate account of Wagner must address, and I will try to do so in the bulk of my comments below.

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