‘Richard Wagner and the Music of the Future: History and Aesthetics’ by Francis Hueffer

Published by Cambridge University Press in 2009.

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Francis Hueffer (1843–1889) was music critic for The Times from 1878 to 1889 and was also secretary of the Wagner Society founded in 1873. This 1874 book, much of it originally published in the Fortnightly Review, considers Wagner’s role in the musical developments of the nineteenth century that followed the watershed of Beethoven’s ninth symphony. It is one of the first works in English to explore the nature of Wagner’s genius, and builds on an essay published by the author in The Academy about Wagner’s own pamphlet on Beethoven. Hueffer’s analysis of the formation of Wagner’s artistic values and musical philosophy as embodied in his writings and music dramas is complemented by discussion of the songs of Schubert, Schumann and Liszt. The appendix provides an account of the performance of Beethoven’s ninth which Wagner conducted at Bayreuth in 1872, and the laying of the foundation stone of the Festspielhaus.

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