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Lot #633
Richard Wagner

Wagner enlists his publisher to help him reach “a most important goal”

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Wagner enlists his publisher to help him reach “a most important goal”

Important German composer (1813–1883) who single-handedly revolutionized opera and attained status as one of the most influential geniuses in the history of music. ALS in German, signed “R. Wagner,” one page, 5.25 x 8.25, November 4, [1871]. Letter to Ernest Fritzsch, his Leipzig publisher, regarding the second volume of Wagner’s collected writings, in part (translated): “Today for the third day I have received no proof sheets. This worries me. It is vital to me to have a complete copy of the second volume at my disposal by the 25th of this month because then it can help me to a most important goal.” Affixed to a same-size sheet and removably encapsulated in a Mylar sleeve. In fine condition, with uniform overall toning and slight paper loss to lower right corner.

Constantly at pains to make his artistic aims clear to his audience—determined for them understand the intellectual drive behind his compositions, rather than accept his musical style at face value—Wagner began working on a multi-volume collected edition of his vast prose publications in the mid-1860s. With topics ranging from the emerging field of musicology to contemporary performance practices, from philosophical musings on the nature of the arts to political and topical writings, the collection offered great insight into the development of Wagner’s own music—and his perception of his place in musical history. At the time the Wagner wrote this letter to his publisher, Fritzsch was just beginning to release the first volumes. An extraordinary piece, penned as the deadline approached for publication of his long-awaited, lifetime collection. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Rare Manuscript, Document & Autograph
  • Dates: #424 - Ended March 12, 2014

This item is Pre-Certified by PSA/DNA
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