Three problematic composer birthdays: overview
In this brief series of posts, I want to discuss three important European composers who have their centennial or bicentennial birthdays in 2013 , each of whom has vitally changed musical theater, each of whom is widely celebrated today, and each of whom has been controversial.
In turn, these posts will discuss
- Benjamin Britten (100th birthday), who attracted notoriety for his relationships with teenage boys.
- Giuseppe Verdi (200th birthday), who struggled throughout his life with oppressive state censorship.
- Richard Wagner (200th birthday), who advocated noxious nationalism (along with ethnic supremacy) and was one of the great anti-Semites of the 19th century.
I want to deal in turn with the relationship between an artist’s character and his art, and the relationship of the artist to the state.
Posts on each of these composers will follow followed by a concluding post.