Being Wagner: The Triumph Of The Will
Simon Callow William Collins £14.99
Wagner is loved and loathed in roughly equal measures. His music has been compared by the doubters to the noise of a finger rubbed round the edge of a glass, or a cat scampering over the keys of a piano.
Many complain that he goes on and on and on. ‘Damned German stuff,’ harrumphed the iconoclastic British conductor Sir Thomas Beecham. ‘They’ve been at it for two hours and they’re still singing the same tune.’
Others are spooked out by the strange hold the music has over its fans, the most famous of whom was Adolf Hitler. ‘I can’t listen to too much Wagner, y’know?’ Woody Allen once observed, ‘or I start to get the urge to conquer Poland.’
Wagner’s music has been compared by the doubters to the noise of a finger rubbed round the edge of a…