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The Faber Pocket Guide to Wagner

Michael Tanner

The Faber Pocket Guide to Wagner by Michael Tanner is an authoritative and accessible guide to Richard Wagner, the most controversial composer in history.

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Richard Wagner remains, almost 130 years after his death, the most controversial composer in the history of music. Creator of huge and hugely ambitious operas, which have an immense immediate impact, as well as providing food for endless thought and discussion, Wagner has had an influence on many fields outside music. In this lively pocket guide, Michael Tanner gives concise accounts of all his operas – the likes of Parsifal, Lohengrin and Tristan und Isolde – showing how important it is to grasp the dramatic situations at every point, and indicating some of the key musical features. He also provides an outline of Wagner’s astonishing life, and shows that he has often been unfairly criticised and made a scapegoat, especially for political events which took place long after his death.

Key features include:

– Wagner: his life year by year
– Wagner: his music work by work
– Things people said about Wagner
– Essential Wagner: ten great moments
– Wagner on CD and DVD
– Wagner bibliography

This indispensable Faber Pocket Guide provides a wealth of insights into Wagner and is essential reading for anyone with an interest in both and the man and his music.

‘[P]robably the best introduction ever written to this most complex of composers.’ Simon Heffer, Telegraph


Michael Tanner was a lecturer in the Philosophy Faculty of the University of Cambridge for 36 years, and is a Fellow of Corpus Christi College. He has been the opera critic of The Spectator since 1996, and reviews CDs and DVDs of music and opera widely. His life as a teacher was divided between philosophy and literature, though music has…

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