1832 Wagner König Enzio

THURSDAY, July 23, 2020

Wagner König Enzio 1832

This gives a little compositional background:

The 18-year-old Wagner, having completed six months’ study of counterpoint, canon, and composition with Theodor Weinlig, cantor of the Leipzig’s Thomaskirche (the last and most intensive period of preparation before embarking upon his career) essayed his new powers in a series of overtures through which one can trace his assimilation of a number of heterogeneous influences, for instance, Bellini and Weber, Marschner and Mendelssohn, and Spontini and Beethoven.

In other words, he was copying the musical styles of others, but he was also finding his own voice.

Connection to Beethoven…

König Enzio tells a tale that is rather similar to that of Fidelio, and this is important because of young Wagner’s fascination with the music of Beethoven.

His sister was an actress…

His sister, Rosalie, had an important part in König Enzio 1832playing Lucia and asked the management of the Leipzig theater to allow his overture and incidental music to be used, though not without misgivings.The program of the play’s second performance on March 16, 1832, said:

“the overture and the music at the end of the fifth act have been newly composed for the occasion by Richard Wagner.”

It was his first printed public recognition as a composer.

An earlier overture B flat major by in Wagner…

At age 18 Wagner had a colossal failure:

His sister, Rosalie, playing Lucia, prevailed upon the management of the Leipzig theater to allow his overture and incidental music to be used, though not without misgivings.The management remembered having performed Wagner’s B flat Overture at Christmas in 1830, with its punctuating kettledrum stroke at every fifth bar provoking disgust and derision. For König Enzio, the composer’s name was withheld until the audience demonstrated its approval.

Wow – that’s pretty brutal! We can’t know more, because the music did not survive. But Wagner would have been 17 years old, and apparently he did not exactly get a glowing review.

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