Nietzsche, Wagner, Compositional Miniaturism


  • Lovrenc Rogelj Podiplomski študent muzikologije in filozofije, Ljubljana



Wagner, Nietzsche, musical miniaturism, decadence, musical drama


Wagner’s reform of opera into musical drama introduced new formal solutions, which have been sparking discussions between analysts from the moment Wagner’s mature works (Der Ring des Nibelungen, Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Parsifal) premiered. It was Friedrich Nietzsche who formulated the most famous critique of Wagner’s alleged inability to handle great forms, which stems from miniaturism as the principal compositional characteristic, or even as the main symptom of Wagner’s decadent style. Drawing from Karol Berger’s book Beyond Reason, this paper will look at the historical context of Nietzsche’s reproach, question its adequacy, and lastly illuminate the paths and problems the artist and the philosopher faced while exploring new ways of thinking and creating in the times of crisis brought on by the decline of the Enlightenment’s faith in the power of reason.


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2021-12-31 — Updated on 2022-04-06


How to Cite

Rogelj, L. (2022). Nietzsche, Wagner, Compositional Miniaturism. Filozofski Vestnik, 42(3). (Original work published December 31, 2021)