Waart, Edo de. 56 Wachmann, Eduard 56

Wagenseil, Johann Christoph

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Wagenseil, Johann Christoph

(b Nuremberg, 26 Nov 1633; d Altdorf, 9 Oct 1708). German scholar. His work on the Meistersinger is of interest to musicians. Because of his comprehensive knowledge he was described as ‘Polyhistor celeberrimus’ (by Will) in the 18th century; he gained much of his knowledge during extensive travels in nearly all European countries as a ‘Hofmeister’, i.e. a travelling companion of young patricians. He accordingly became a member of several learned societies and a doctor of laws of the University of Orleans (in 1665). He was professor of public and canon law, history and oriental languages at the Civic University of Nuremberg at Altdorf, of which he was twice rector and law dean. For a time he also had charge of the university library. His list of works, large even for a polymath, runs to 88 titles, including the appendix to his Latin history of Nuremberg, De civitate noribergensi commentatio (Altdorf, 1697/R1975); the appendix (pp.433–5) bears the German title Buch von der Meister-Singer holdseligen Kunst Anfang, Fortübung, Nutzbarkeiten, und Lehrsätzen and contains an engraved portrait of Wagenseil by J. Sandrart (dated 1680). It deals with the origin of the Meistersinger, their Tabulaturen and their customs, and includes examples of music by Müglin, Frauenlob, Marner and Regenbogen. Wagenseil’s reliability and scholarly accuracy were doubted even by his contemporaries. Nevertheless, his treatise on the Meistersinger of Nuremberg, the first of its kind, is a very important account of the subject and provided the basis for texts by Jean Paul and E.T.A. Hoffmann, as well as the text, and the musical substance too, of Wagner’s opera.


G.A. Will: Nürnbergisches Gelehrten-Lexicon, iv (Nuremberg, 1758), 144–55; see also vol. viii by C.C. Nopitsch (Altdorf, 1808), 368ff

A.M. Bowen: The Sources and Text of Wagner’s Opera ‘Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg’ (Munich, 1897/R)

H. Thompson: Wagner and Wagenseil (London, 1927)


Waghalter, Ignatz

(b Warsaw, 15 March 1881; d New York, 7 April 1949). Polish-German conductor and composer. Having completed his apprenticeship at the Berlin Komische Oper (1907–11) and the Stadttheater in Essen (1911–12), he rose to prominence in Berlin as a conductor at the Deutsche Oper (1912–23) and opera composer. His three major operas, all composed in a richly melodic vein, received their premières at the Deutsche Oper: Mandragola (1914), inspired by the Renaissance comedy by Machiavelli; Jugend (1917), adapted from the realist tragic drama by Max Halbe; and Santaniel (1923), based on a Polish fantasy tale. In 1925 Waghalter succeeded Josef Stransky as principal conductor of the New York State SO. Despite his favourable critical reception, Waghalter returned to Germany where he was active as a guest conductor and composer. He fled from Germany in 1934, first to Czechoslovakia and then to Austria, where he composed his last opera, Ahasaverus und Esther (1937). Emigrating to the USA in 1938, Waghalter established an orchestra of black musicians, but the enterprise found little support in the prevailing social climate. He died in obscurity at the age of 68. But the centenary of his birth was commemorated by the Deutsche Oper, which also, in 1989, offered a public performance of Jugend. Other works by Waghalter include a String Quartet in D op.3; a Sonata for Violin and Piano op.5; a Violin Concerto in A op.15; and several operettas (including Der später Gast, Wem gehört Helena, Bārbel), lieder and pieces for the piano. He left behind an autobiography, Aus dem Ghetto in die Freiheit (Marienbad, 1936).



German family of musicians.

(1) (Wilhelm) Richard Wagner

(2) Johanna Wagner [Jachmann-Wagner]

(3) Siegfried (Helferich Richard) Wagner

(4) Wieland (Adolf Gottfried) Wagner

(5) Wolfgang (Manfred Martin) Wagner



(1) (Wilhelm) Richard Wagner

(b Leipzig, 22 May 1813; d Venice, 13 Feb 1883). Composer. One of the key figures in the history of opera, Wagner was largely responsible for altering its orientation in the 19th century. His programme of artistic reform, though not executed to the last detail, accelerated the trend towards organically conceived, through-composed structures, as well as influencing the development of the orchestra, of a new breed of singer, and of various aspects of theatrical practice.

1. The formative years: 1813–32.

2. Early career: 1833–42.

3. Kapellmeister in Dresden: 1843–9.

4. Zürich essays.

5. Composer in exile: 1849–63.

6. Munich and Bayreuth: 1864–77.

7. ‘Regeneration’ writings.

8. The final years: 1878–83.

9. Writings.

10. Dramatic works.

11. Non-dramatic works.

12. Projected and unfinished dramatic works.

13. Orchestration.

14. Sources.

15. Wagnerism.




Wagner: (1) Richard Wagner

1. The formative years: 1813–32.

It is both fitting and psychologically congruous that a question mark should hover over the identity of the father and mother of the composer whose works resonate so eloquently with themes of parental anxiety. Richard Wagner’s ‘official’ father was the police actuary Carl Friedrich Wagner, but the boy’s adoptive father, the actor-painter Ludwig Geyer, who took responsibility for the child on Carl Friedrich’s death in November 1813, may possibly have been the real father. Wagner himself was never sure, though any concern he may have had about Geyer’s supposed Jewish origins would have been misplaced: Geyer was of incontrovertibly Protestant stock. Recent research has further established that Wagner’s mother Johanna was not the illegitimate daughter of Prince Constantin of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, as previously believed, but his mistress (Gregor-Dellin, 1985).

Wagner’s formal education began on 2 December 1822 at the Kreuzschule in Dresden, where his mother and stepfather had moved to enable Geyer to undertake engagements for the Hoftheater. On returning to Leipzig with his mother and sisters he entered the Nicolaischule on 21 January 1828, but school studies were less enthusiastically pursued than theatrical and musical interests, which resulted in a ‘vast tragic drama’ called Leubald and conscientious perusal of Logier’s composition treatise. Harmony lessons (initially in secret) with a local musician, Christian Gottlieb Müller (1828–31), were followed by enrolment at Leipzig University (23 February 1831) to study music, and a short but intensive period of study with the Kantor of the Thomaskirche, Christian Theodor Weinlig (about six months from October 1831).

In his autobiographical writings Wagner later played down the significance of his musical education in order to cultivate the notion of the untutored genius. But its fruits were evident in a series of keyboard and orchestral works written by spring 1832 and particularly in the Beethovenian Symphony in C major which followed shortly after. A genuine passion for Beethoven, while confirmed by such works and the piano transcription of the Ninth Symphony made in 1830–31, was exaggerated in another typical piece of mythification: Wagner’s account of a supposedly momentous portrayal of Leonore by the soprano Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient in Leipzig in 1829 is undermined by the unavailability of any evidence that the singer gave such a performance. Yet the fable (probably a semi-conscious conflation of two separate events) attests to the young composer’s ambition to be proclaimed the rightful heir to the symphonic tradition embodied in Beethoven.

Wagner’s first attempt at an operatic project was a pastoral opera modelled on Goethe’s Die Laune des Verliebten (? early 1830); the work was aborted with only a scene for three female voices and a tenor aria written. His second project, Die Hochzeit, was conceived in October–November 1832, while he was visiting the estate of Count Pachta at Pravonín, near Prague. Based on a story from J.G.G. Büsching’s Ritterzeit und Ritterwesen, Die Hochzeit was a grisly tale of dark passions, treachery and murder. The libretto, according to Wagner’s autobiography, Mein Leben, was destroyed by him as a demonstration of confidence in the judgment of his sister Rosalie. Such music as was completed, between December 1832 and February 1833 – an introduction, chorus and septet – survives.

Wagner: (1) Richard Wagner

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