In the vast literature on Richard Wagner, Ernest Newman’s classic four-volume Life remains unsurpassed.
The first volume covers the years from Wagner’s birth in 1813 to the end of the Dresden period.
Volume II carries the story from 1848 to 1860. It describes the important, formative years in Wagner’s life and reconstructs his role in the Dresden rising of 1849. Newman also discusses the changes that the Ring poem underwent during this period and illuminates Wagner’s relations with his wife Minna, his mentor Liszt, and his circle in Zürich.
Volume III covers the years 1859-66 including the Tannhäuser debacle in Paris, the crisis with Minna, the first production of Tristan und Isolde and the flight from Munich.
Volume IV completes the story from 1866 to Wagner’s death in 1883. It covers the composition of Die Meistersinger and Parsifal, the completion of the Ring, Wagner’s marriage to Cosima Liszt von Bülow, and the building of Bayreuth.
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