Monday, February 11, 2013

Big Drums And Intoxicating Drinks

„Wagner...lacks the German charm and grace of a Beethoven, a Mozart, a Weber; he also lacks the flowing, cheerful fire (Allegro con brio) of Beethoven and Weber. He cannot be free and easy without being grotesque. He lacks modesty, indulges in big drums, and always tends to surcharge his effect. He is not the good official that Bach was. Neither has he that Goethean calm in regard to his rivals... Wagner's art is an appeal to inartistic people; all means are welcomed which help towards obtaining an effect. It is calculated not to produce an artistic effect but an effect upon the nerves in general... Wagner does not altogether trust music. He weaves kindred sensations into it in order to lend it the character of greatness. He measures himself on others; he first of all gives his listeners intoxicating drinks in order to lead them into believing that it was the music that intoxicated them.“
Friedrich Nietzsche


  1. I can’t understand the last sentence. In fact, what is the intoxicating drink if not music or musical effects themselves. What is the first bars of Tannhäuser ouverture? Or the Walkürenritt? Intoxicating drinks? The first is music in order to raising your heart, the latter is music in order to unsettling your mood. Both is the kind of music, later named as program music. Or later named as film music.

  2. I’ve given some more thoughts to the drinks….
    Maybe at that time, artisans were deeply convinced of a deep gap between artistic effects and “common” effects upon nerves in general.
    They couldn’t envision composing as a craft, with a set of tools being well explored.