Wagner on Music Industry

Wagner published a very controversial essay which criticized Jewish people, for having turned music from a patronage type deal into a business for profit. It was banned for some years. Critics feel it was a vile, possibly Nazi-ish type spiel. I, being open minded, have no stake in pro or anti-Israeli bias. I read wide, and can make up my own mind.

In some ways, Wagner predicted the rise of corporate music industry.  He claims that music peaked with Beethoven in the romantic era and has gone downhill since. That marked the transition from art form to music industry. He says in the old days the musicians (probably Chopin) he references, relied on patron saints, and didn’t really play for the masses in any corporate sense. Wagner sings high praises for Bach, in particular, who he calls the father of music. Also he speaks highly of Mozart.  Mendlesson and Berlioz, are two composers Wagner  rips on. Its hard to not hear Ride of The Valkyres playing, loudly in the background, while he rips on these guys.

Other charges are that Wagner says Jews have a flat affect, which he deems un-passionate. Claims they are shallow , fleeting musically, and without emotion. Further blames bi-lingualism for making their language skills watered down , essentially. Says they use their rep as an oppressed people to advance themselves, meanwhile have become the upper classes. Obviously Wagner creates many over generalizations, some of which he tries to obscure using a ‘cultured’ Jew v. ‘uncultured’ Jew model.

Much of the essay is hard to accept by today’s standards, because Wagner is frank and brutal about stereotypying, which possibly does his own case a disservice. His overall thesis, however, stands – that is if you can separate his having blamed the decline of music quality overall to the Jews, and instead consider this as instead the larger corporate context. Watching former crack dealer JayZ winning the Grammies year after year, for mindless slurring, is a prime example in the modern day context. Meaning, its not evil Jews playing that Katie Perry and crummy Justin Bieber song. But it is some elitist executive type making the decision of who will get radio play. Its not in the hands of the college kids, and younger people themselves as to what they will be exposed to, like in the days of the garage bands, but rather profit seeking higher-ups who control the industry.

Wagner gets really nasty, saying he doesn’t like the Jews cause of this and cause of that, and plays the old Rothchilds cards. Also says Jews cannot do anything with passion cause its just about $ for them. Its a very interesting read, and its ironic to see that controversial debates about the culture being too commercial, as well as the involvement of the Illuminati, have persisted since Wagner’s era. It is a highly provocative essay, which is probably worth reading to get an idea of that era’s cultural thinking in Germany, in a historical perspective.