Sunday, August 08, 2010
The Story Behind the Story: He Would Have Preferred a Visit From His Jewish Friend
Tristan was entering its final phase. The closer he came to completing it, the more Wagner missed the company of knowledgeable friends. He would, for instance, have welcomed a visit from Tausig. Instead, he was visited at the end of July by another young protege of Liszt, the twenty-four-year-old composer Felix Draesecke. He bored Wagner at first with his incessant chatter, then realized that his reports on the German musical scene were unwelcome and ended by gaining the older man's confidence. Other callers included Wilhelm Baumgartner and the composer and critic Alexander N. Serov, who was the first to champion Wagner's music in Russia. On the afternoon of August 6, Wagner summoned Draesecke to his hotel room and invited him to look through the score of Tristan. It was almost finished. At half-past four, in Draesecke's presence, he wrote in the final bars.