Siegfried Wagner

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Siegfried Wagner

Siegfried Wagner (June 6, 1869 - August 4, 1930) was a German composer and conductor, the son of Richard Wagner. He was a very productive opera composer and was the artistic director of the Bayreuth Festival from 1908 to 1930.


Siegfried was born in 1869 to Richard Wagner and his wife Cosima Wagner. Through his mother, he was a grandson of Franz Liszt, from whom he received some instruction in harmony.

Some youthful compositions date from about 1882. After he completed his secondary education in 1889 he studied with Wagner's pupil Engelbert Humperdinck, but was more strongly drawn to a career as an architect and studied architecture in Berlin and Karlsruhe.

In 1892 he undertook a trip to Asia with a friend, the English composer Clement Harris. During the voyage he decided to abandon architecture and commit himself to music.

While on board ship he sketched his first official work, the symphonic poem Sehnsucht after Friedrich Schiller. This piece was not completed until just before the concert in which Siegfried Wagner conducted it in London on 6 June 1895. He became a very productive composer, composing more operas than his father. Though his works are numerous, none has entered the standard repertory.

Meanwhile he had made his conducting debut as an assistant conductor at Bayreuth in 1894; in 1896 he became associate conductor. In 1908 he took over as Artistic Director of the Bayreuth Festival in succession to his mother Cosima.

For years, his mother urged him to marry and provide the Wagner dynasty with heirs but Siegfried fought off the idea for many years. Around 1913, the family found a suitable woman in a seventeen-year-old Englishwoman, Winifred Klindworth, and at the Bayreuth festival of 1914 she was introduced to the then-45-year-old Siegfried. The two married on 22 September 1915.

The couple had four children:

  1. Wieland (1917-1966)
  2. Friedlinde (1918-1991)
  3. Wolfgang (born 1919)
  4. Verena (born 1920)

Peter Pachl, one of Siegfried's biographers, asserted that in 1901 Siegfried had sired an illegitimate son, Walter Aign (1901-1977). However, that assertion remains controversial. Nonetheless, several recent authors, such as Frederic Spotts or Brigitte Hamann, have taken up that assertion.

Siegfried Wagner died in 1930 and was succeeded at the helm of the Bayreuth Festival by his widow, Winifred, as his two sons were still too young.



(all in three acts; all with libretto by the composer)

  1. Der Bärenhäuter (1898; premiered Munich 1899)
  2. Herzog Wildfang (1900; premiered Munich 1901)
  3. Der Kobold (1903; premiered Hamburg 1904)
  4. Bruder Lustig (1904; premiered Hamburg 1905)
  5. Sternengebot (1906; premiered Hamburg 1908)
  6. Banadietrich (1909; premiered Karlsruhe 1910)
  7. Schwarzschwanenreich (1910; premiered Karlsruhe 1918)
  8. Sonnenflammen (1912; premiered Darmstadt 1918)
  9. Der Heidenkönig (1913; premiered Cologne 1933)
  10. Der Friedensengel (1914; premiered Karlsruhe 1926)
  11. An allem ist Hütchen schuld! (1915; premiered Stuttgart 1917)
  12. Das Liebesopfer (1917, libretto only; revised version under title Wernhart, 1929)
  13. Der Schmied von Marienburg (1920; premiered Rostock 1923)
  14. Rainulf und Adelasia (1922; premiered Rostock 1923)
  15. Die heilige Linde (1927; premiered Cologne 2001)
  16. Wahnopfer (1928; orchestration unfinished)
  17. Walamund (1928-29; not orchestrated)
  18. Das Flüchlein, das Jeder mitbekam (1929; not orchestrated by composer apart from the Overture; orchestration by Hans Peter Mohr for 1984 premiere in Kiel)

Orchestral Works

  1. March for Gottfried der Spielmann (c. 1882)
  2. Orchestration of Ekloge from Liszt's Années de Pèlerinage (1890)
  3. Sehnsucht, symphonic poem after Schiller (1892-5)
  4. Concertino for flute and small orchestra (1913)
  5. Violin Concerto (1915)
  6. Und wenn die Welt voll Teufel wär, scherzo for orchestra (1922)
  7. Glück, symphonic poem (1922-23) [dedicated to the memory of Clement Harris]
  8. Symphony in C major (1925, rev. 1927). (First version used the Prelude to Der Friedensengel as the slow movement, whereas a new movement was composed for the revised version. The scherzo is based on the sketches for an unfinished orchestral tone-poem, Hans im Glück)

External links

Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.