Richard Wagner's ''Occasional Works'' for male chorus (1843-1844): Aspects and influences on Wagner's emerging compositional style during the Dresden years (1843-1849).
AuthorJahn, Jeffry Allen.
AdvisorSkones, Maurice H.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractRichard Wagner was appointed Hofkapellmeister to the Dresden Court in 1841. In conjunction with the duties of his office, he composed four works for male chorus, categorized by him as "occasional works". These works written during the first year-and-a-half of his Dresden tenure demonstrate Wagner's early assimilation of his artistic and philosophical ideals that would culminate in the composition of the opera-cycle, Der Ring des Nibelungen. Wagner's association with the male-voice choral unions of Dresden allowed him opportunity to express and define his compositional goals in his constant quest for a true and pure German art form. The "occasional works" influenced and affected his use of male chorus in the operas Lohengrin, Tannhauser and Die Meistersinger. Wagner, forced to flee Dresden after the May 1849 uprising, no longer had access to the Dresden male-voice choral unions. Consequently, the frequency of male choruses in his operas composed after this time diminishes assuming a different position, both musically and dramatically than in those operas composed prior to and during his Dresden tenure. The "occasional works" demonstrate more than a servial obligation, rather, they encapsulate the very essence of Wagner's compositional thought in a highly condensed and intensely focused form.