The first German edition of Richard Wagner's essay on Beethoven


Richard Wagner


E W Fritsch, Leipzig, 1870

Printing Details

First German edition, card cover with printed titling to front. German text. 21.5 × 14cm, 73pp.

Wagner's book-length essay on Beethoven, written to celebrate the centenary of Beethoven's birth in 1870, is really about Wagner himself rather than Beethoven. It is generally regarded as the principal aesthetic statement of the composer's later years, representing a reassessment of the ideas of the earlier Zurich writings, especially Oper und Drama, in the light of the experience gained through the composition of Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg and the greater part of Der Ring des Nibelungen. It contains Wagner's most complete exegesis of his understanding of Schopenhauer's philosophy and its perceived influence on the compositional practice of his later works. The essay also influenced the young Nietzsche.


Fair condition only. The covers are badly chipped to the edges, with some loss. There is a taped repair to the whole spine and the inner binding is opened at page 48/49. However, the text is complete and this remains quite a rare first edition.

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