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Richard Wagner

April 15, 2004 | From Associated Press
When Richard Wagner composed his powerful "Ride of the Valkyries" in the 1850s, he surely wasn't thinking of any danger he was posing to 21st century motorists. Britain's RAC Foundation for Motoring on Wednesday named the strident classical piece the No. 1 tune not to play while driving, based on research that it says shows loud music can cause accidents. The "Dies Irae" from Giuseppe Verdi's "Requiem" was also considered a no-no.
October 18, 2003 | From Associated Press
Richard Wagner has been dead for 120 years, but the legacy of his monumental operas glorifying Teutonic myths and his deep anti-Semitism remain as contentious as ever. A new German exhibit on Adolf Hitler's favorite composer, which opened Friday, highlights the contradictions between Wagner the musical genius and the Wagner who saw himself as the savior of German culture against Jewish influence.
December 22, 2001 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Martha Moedl, 89, a German opera singer who achieved international fame with her performance of Wagner in the 1950s and '60s, died Monday at a Stuttgart hospital after a long illness. Moedl studied at the Nuremberg Conservatory and made her debut in 1942 in Remscheid, Germany, in the children's opera "Hansel and Gretel." She progressed from alto to mezzo-soprano at the Duesseldorf Opera after the war.
July 22, 2001 | MARK SWED, Mark Swed is The Times' music critic
Try as you might, you cannot avoid Richard Wagner. But the Israelis keep trying anyway. Ever since it became a state in 1948, Israel has adamantly discouraged the performance of Wagner's music within its borders. As Hitler's favorite composer, Wagner was prominently used as the soundtrack of the Third Reich, and the associations that survivors from Nazi concentration camps have with Wagner's music are obviously painful.
July 8, 2001 | From Associated Press
Having agreed not to play music by Hitler's favorite composer at the Israel Festival, renowned conductor Daniel Barenboim did just that Saturday, receiving a standing ovation from most of the audience but angry shouts from a vocal minority. Appearing in Jerusalem at the prestigious arts festival, Barenboim and the Berliner Staatskapelle played music from Richard Wagner's opera "The Valkyrie." Music from the opera was featured in the original program.
June 24, 2001 | JOSEPH HOROWITZ, Joseph Horowitz is the author of five books, including "Wagner Nights: An American History." He teaches at the Eastman School of Music and serves as an artistic advisor to various orchestras, including the Pacific Symphony
Richard Wagner was a dramatist of genius. An acute psychologist, a wearer of myriad masks within his own persona, he inhabited a Shakespearean range of types male and female, human, superhuman and subhuman. He sympathetically understood his flawed heroes and excited compassionate under-standing for his damaged or deranged villains. Wagner's own flaws have obscured these extra-musical gifts.
Bowing to public pressure, the Israel Festival announced Wednesday that it has canceled a July performance of a work by composer Richard Wagner, who was known for his anti-Semitic views. The festival's board of directors said the Berliner Staatskapelle orchestra, with Daniel Barenboim conducting, will instead play selections by the composers Stravinsky and Schumann. Placido Domingo, the tenor who was scheduled to perform with the orchestra, will not appear.
May 26, 2001
With all due respect, I am unsympathetic to Daniel Barenboim's defense of a planned guest performance of "Die Walkure" at the upcoming Israel Festival (Commentary, May 22). As long as Jewish opposition to Wagnerian music is viscerally associative rather than merely argumentative, any response to that opposition must be sensitive and deferential. It is not a matter of right and wrong; it's simply a matter of courtesy. Jim Torcivia Westlake Village Barenboim's defense of performing Richard Wagner's music in Israel does not deal with the central basis for the objections to Wagner there.
May 12, 2001 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Bowing to protests from Holocaust survivors, an Israeli music festival decided Friday to ask conductor Daniel Barenboim to drop music by Hitler's favorite composer, Richard Wagner, from his program at the festival. Barenboim is scheduled to conduct the first act of Wagner's opera "The Valkyrie" with the Berliner Staatskapelle and solo singers July 7 at the Israel Festival in Jerusalem.
It has been 118 years since the death of Richard Wagner, Hitler's favorite composer, but the playing of his music in Israel continues to be a matter of epic emotion. A special session of the Israeli parliament on Wednesday unanimously demanded that organizers of the upcoming Israel Festival cancel a Wagnerian concert. The 19th century German composer was an outspoken anti-Semite and an ideological and musical inspiration to Adolf Hitler.
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