Overview and Introduction
Program Announcement for the
Bayreuth Festival of 1953
"What might the above picture have to do with the topic of Beethoven and Wagner?", you might, perhaps, ask! However, when you look at all the names that are printed on this announcement very closely, you the connection will become clear to you: Since the re-opening of the Bayreuth Festival in the summer of 1951, it has become a tradition to begin it with the performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. In this way, the names of Wagner and Beethoven come together. The bridge into the 20th century is built by the name of the composer Paul Hindemith (who was to conduct the Ninth in Bayreuth in 1953), whose opera "Mathis der Maler" Wilhelm Furtwängler, the Bayreuth Beethoven conductor of 1951, wanted to stage in the 1930's during the Third Reich but who was prevented by the authorities from doing so. I gladly leave it to you and your own reflection to ponder the cross-connections and ramifications of all of this.
Through the thus established connection between Beethoven, Wagner and Furtwängler, you might also be once again reminded of the Fidelio Comments Page that has recently been introduced in this web site, in which it also the differing views of Wagner and Furtwängler with respect to the Leonore-Overtures No. 2 and 3 were discussed. From this could already be seen that Wagner dealt with Beethoven not only as a practicing musician but also as a musical writer.
To what extent Wagner dealt with Beethoven both as a musical writer and critic as well as a conductor and composer is certainly worthy of being investigated by us in an exploration of a different kind. We begin this exploration with the pages that are accessible on the menu bar to the left and wish you a great deal of reading enjoyment!