Wagner, Nietzsche, Toscanini

Sunday, 17 June 2007, 8:17 am, St. Stephen, NB

Better part of the day on NACLAA, writing the final assignment for the financial management course and completing the readings for the policy course; the latter were dull, and it took some pushing.

Late in the afternoon, resumed work on poetry.




“… in Wagner [Nietzsche] had encountered someone whose calibre he knew in his heart to be greater … [but] it was impossible for Nietzsche to acknowledge it and at the same time keep the conception of himself that he wished to have…. Some geniuses relapse into greatness…. Toscanini, widely regarded as the greatest conductor of the twentieth century, aspired at first to become a composer, until he attended a performance of Tristan and Isolde and realized that this was something he was never going to come anywhere near being able to match, whereupon he changed his ambitions and became a conductor. His encounter with Wagner had destroyed for him the possibility of belief in a certain destiny for himself. I suspect that something parallel to this happened with Nietzsche, except that he was unable to come to terms with it, and for him the problem was solved only by madness.”

Bryan Magee, The Tristan Chord, pp. 341-342

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