Monday, February 14, 2011

Death in Venice

Richard Wagner died in Venice on February 13, 1883, at about 3:00 in the afternoon.  Death came suddenly to the 69-year-old composer.

In all probability the last music he heard that day -- and for all time -- was his wife Cosima playing Schubert's song Lob der Tränen  (In Praise of Tears) in an adjoining room of the Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi the Wagners were renting for an extended vacation.

The last time Wagner conducted was at the La Fenice theater in Venice on December 24, 1882.  Wagner had arranged a special concert for Cosima's birthday that featured a performance of Wagner's Symphony in C, which the composer had written at age 19, fifty years earlier.

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