This book analyses the lifelong impact of Beethoven's music on Wagner and its importance for his conception of music drama. Kropfinger charts and scrutinises Wagner's early responses to the composer and considers his experience as a conductor of Beethoven's music. A discussion of the Romantic 'Beethoven image' leads to a careful study of Wagner's aesthetic writings, including his 'programmatic explanations', the text 'Concerning Franz Liszt's symphonic poems', and his Beethoven centenary essay. The penultimate chapter addresses Wagner's theory and practice of music drama which he came to regard as the preordained successor to the Beethovenian symphony. Through his study, Kropfinger offers a fresh understanding of Wagner, music drama, and the development of musical structures.
Preface; Additional acknowledgements; Key to German and English sigla; 1. Introduction; 2. Wagner's experience of Beethoven; 3. The romantic background and Beethoven biography; 4. Beethoven's role in Wagner's writings on art; 5. Wagner's theory and construction of music drama; 6. Wagner as Beethoven's heir; Bibliography; Index of names and subjects.