Quotes on Richard Wagner

The best witticisms in musical criticism are invariably about Wagner. Here are some choice quotes:

  • Wagner’s music is better than it sounds.
    Edgar Wilson Nye
  • One can’t judge Wagner’s opera ‘Lohengrin’ after a first hearing, and I certainly don’t intend hearing it a second time.
    Gioacchino Antonio Rossini
  • Mr. Wagner has beautiful moments but awful quarters of an hour.
    Gioacchino Antonio Rossini
  • I love Wagner, but the music I prefer is that of a cat hung up by its tail outside a window and trying to stick to the panes of glass with its claws.
    Charles-Pierre Baudelaire
  • I like Wagner’s music better than any other music. It is so loud that one can talk the whole time without people hearing what one says. That is a great advantage.
    Oscar Wilde
  • I can’t listen to that much Wagner. I start getting the urge to conquer Poland.
    Woody Allen

On the other hand, there are many great men who rate him very highly indeed:

  • Perhaps the greatest genius that ever lived.
    WH Auden
  • There is Beethoven and Richard, and after them, nobody.
    Gustav Mahler
  • Most of us are so helplessly under the spell of his greatness that we can do nothing but go raving about the theatre in ecstasies of deluded admiration.
    George Bernard Shaw

2 responses to “Quotes on Richard Wagner”

  1. I always heard the Edgar Wilson Rye quote attributed to George Bernard Shaw.

  2. I find myself on the side of Auden, Shaw, and Mahler, especially Mahler’s quotation about Beethoven and Wagner.

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