Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/381

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WAGNER.

April 1879. Towards the end of the year his old enemy erysipelas re-appeared in a severe form, and he sought relief in Southern Italy. The instrumentation to ' Parsifal ' was continued (the Vorspiel had already been performed pri- vately, by the Meiningen orchestra under Wag- ner, at Bayreuth, Christmas, 1878), and was finished during the next winter's sojourn in the south, at Palermo, Jan. 13, 1882.

In July and August, 1882 six years after Der King des Nibelungen 16 performances of Parsifal,' everything under Wagner's super- vision, were given ; the artists alternating Parsifal, Winkelmann, Gudehus, Jager; Kun- dry, Frau Materna, Frl. Brandt, Frl. Malten; Gurnemanz, Scaria, Siehr; Amfortas, Reich- man, Fuchs; Klingsor, Hill, Degele, Plank. Conductors, H. Levi and Franz Fischer. The work was repeated in 1883 and 1884, and is an- nounced to be given again in the summer of 1 886. During the residence at Venice (Palazzo Ven- dramini on the Grand Canal) in the autumn and winter of 1882-83, the state of Wagner's health wasnot satisfactory, though no unusualsymptoms appeared. He wrote for the Bayreuther Blatter ; and was strong enough to rehearse and conduct a private performance of his Symphony in C (mentioned above, p. 348) at the Liceo Marcello on Christmas Eve. Late in the afternoon of Feb. 13, 1883, the great heart suddenly ceased to beat. On Feb. 18 the body was laid in the little ivy-covered vault he had built long ago at Bayreuth in a retired spot of the garden at the rear of his house ' Wahnfried.'

Apart from a host of letters, and the ' Lebens- erinnerungen,' an autobiography covering fully two-thirds of his life, there are no MS. literary remains of importance. Reports of his having read or recited scenes from the poem to a Buddh- istic drama 'Die Sieger,' or 'Die Biisser,' in- tended to follow Parsifal, rest upon vague hearsay. The fact is simply that in 1856-57 he came across a story in Burnouf 's ' Introduction a 1'his- toire du Buddhisme ' which interested him, and that he took note of the leading incidents with a view to dramatic treatment; but the plan was never matured, and what little of it had taken shape in his mind was incorporated in Parsifal. For a short sketch of ' Die Sieger,' dated Zurich, 16 Mai, 1856,' see ' Richard Wagner Entwurfe, Gedanken, Fragmente ' (Leipzig 1885), pp. 97, 98. Cancelled articles, and unpublished musical works of early date will be found enum- erated in the chronological lists, p. 3 73 a.

Wagner disliked sitting for his portrait, so that of the numerous likenesses current, few are at first hand. Two excellent paintings exist : one, by Prof. Lenbach (with the old German cap), is now at Bayreuth ; the other, by Mr. Hubert Herkomer (1877), is at the German Athenaeum, London (replica at Bayreuth). A bust (aet. 28) by Kietz, of Dresden (a pupil of Delaroche's whom Wagner met in Paris in 1840- 41), is also of interest (at Bayreuth); the portrait sketch for it was reproduced in the 'Zeitung fur die elegante Welt,' 1842, where it

��WAGNER.

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��accompanied the ' Autobiographisclie Skizze,' (See ante, p. 353.) The best photographs are ( i ) a large half-length published in the revised edition of the 'Clavierauszug' of Tannhauser (Berlin, Fttrstner) ; (2) full-length profile (rare), eet. 52. seated at a table reading, a dog at his feet (Munich, Hanfstangl); (3) carte and cabinet sizes (set. 64), (Elliot & Fry, London, 1877).

Like Beethoven, Wagner was slightly under middle height, well built, quick in movement, speech, and gesture. His carriage was usually erect, his aspect commanding, and he made the mpression of being somewhat taller than he actually was. After the political disturbances of 1 849, when he was ' wanted ' by the Saxon police, the following ' Signalement ' was issued. Wagner is 37 to 38 years old, of middle height, bias brown hair, wears glasses ; open forehead ; eyebrows brown ; eyes grey-blue ; nose and mouth well proportioned ; chin round. Particulars : in moving and speaking he is hasty. Clothing : surtout of dark green buckskin, trousers of black cloth, velvet waistcoat, silk neckerchief, the usual felt hat and boots.' Like Beethoven, too,he at once made the impression of an original and powerful individuality. The fascination of his talk and his ways increased on acquaintance. When roused to speak of something that interested him he looked what he meant, and his rich voice gave a musical effect to his words. His presence in any circle apparently dwarfed the surroundings. His instinctive irrepressible energy, self-assertion, and incessant productivity went hand in hand with simple kindness, sympathy, and extreme sensitiveness. Children liked to be near him. He had no pronounced manners, in the sense of anything that can be taught or acquired by imitation. Always unconventional, his de- meanour showed great refinement. His habits in private life are best described as those of a gentleman. He liked domestic comforts, had an artist's fondness for rich colour, har- monious decoration, out-of-the-way furniture, well-bound books and music, etc. The good things of this world distinctly attracted him, but nothing could be further from the truth than the reports about his ways and tastes current in German newspapers. The noble and kindly man as his friends knew him, and the aggressive critic and reformer addressing the public, were as two distinct individuals. Towards the pub- lic and the world of actors, singers, musicians, his habitual attitude was one of defiance. He appeared on the point of losing his temper, showed impatience and irritation, and seemed to delight in tearing men and things to pieces. His violence often stood in the way of his being heard ; indeed he has not yet been heard pro- perly, either on questions of art so near and dear to him, or on questions further off regard- ing things political, social, or religious. It has been said with much truth that wherever Wagner was brought to a stand a social problem lies buried ; hitherto, however, it is only his vehe- ment protestations that have attracted attention, whilst most of the problems, social or religious,

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