The Jews and Wagner

July 23, 1882: “The Jews and Wagner” published today expressed bewilderment at the German composer’s expression of disdain for Jews.  According to the author, it was an un-named Jew who gave him his first piano.  And Giacomo Meyerbeer, the German-Jewish composer, was one of the “first men who helped him.” Wagner claims that the Jews of Vienna have conspired to harm his career, but his three most noted critics –Hanslick, Scheel and Speidl- are Viennese Catholics.

Wilhelm Richard Wagner (Leipzig, May 22, 1813 – Venice, February 13, 1883) was a German composer, conductor, aesthete and reformer of German opera. Wagner did not have a regular musical education, and learnt the most important aspects of composition from Theodor Weinling, the choirmaster at St Thomas’ church in Leipzig. His operas have assured his immortality as a composer, but he composed works in several other areas (incidental theatre, orchestral and chamber music, choral works, songs, arias, piano pieces, transcription and orchestration). His music is typified by the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk (a total work fusing music, the libretto and drama) and the use of leitmotifs, endless melody and sprechgesang.

On March 5, 2013, Hungary issued a stamp commemorating the bicentenary of Wagner’s birth.  The release is unusual because this is the first time that a QR code has appeared on Hungarian postage stamps. With a smart phone and the Internet, information about the bicentenary on the Hungarian State Opera House’s web site can be heard and read. The portrait of the composer is at the center of the stamp design, while a graphic composition referring to a work by him (Das Rheingold) is in the background. Fifty thousand copies of the miniature sheets designed by the Kossuth Prize-winning graphic artist István Orosz were printed by the ANY Security Printing Company.

Shown here is a First Day Cover of the Wagner issue:

wagner_fdc - hungary

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