|About the Book|
William Kindermans detailed study of Parsifal, described by the composer as his last card, explores the evolution of the text and music of this inexhaustible yet highly controversial music drama across Wagners entire career, and offers aMoreWilliam Kindermans detailed study of Parsifal, described by the composer as his last card, explores the evolution of the text and music of this inexhaustible yet highly controversial music drama across Wagners entire career, and offers a reassessment of the ideological and political history of Parsifal, shedding new light on the connection of Wagners legacy to the rise of National Socialism in Germany. The compositional genesis is traced through many unfamiliar manuscript sources, revealing unsuspected models and veiled connections to Wagners earlier works. Fresh analytic perspectives are revealed, casting the dramatic meaning of Parsifal in a new light. Much debated aspects of the work, such as Kundrys death at the conclusion, are discussed in the context of its stage history.Path-breaking as well is Kindermans analysis of the religious and ideological context of Parsifal. During the half-century after the composers death, the Wagner family and the so-called Bayreuth circle sought to exploit Wagners work for political purposes, thereby promoting racial nationalism and anti-Semitism. Hitherto unnoticed connections between Hitler and Wagners legacy at Bayreuth are explored here, while differences between the composers politics as an 1849 revolutionary and the later response of his family to National Socialism are weighed in a nuanced account. Kinderman combines new historical research, sensitive aesthetic criticism, and probing philosophical reflection in this most intensive examination of Wagners culminating music drama.