Friday, 27 August 2010

Hegel's birthday

On Hegel’s birthday, Rossini’s comment on Wagner, about wonderful moments but awful quarter hours, came to mind. It struck me as much more apt to Hegel, through whose verbiage we must dig in search of nuggets, than to the glorious Wagner. So I looked up the context. The aptness to Hegel was amply confirmed. Here is what Rossini is reported to have said.

Niemand ist entfernter davon, die Originalität des Schöpfers des Lohengrin anzuzweifeln, als ich: nur daß es uns der Componist mitunter recht schwer macht, das Schöne, was wir ihm verdanken, in dem Chaos von Tönen, das seine Opern enthalten, aufzufinden. Sie werden es selbst schon erfahren haben: Mr. Wagner a de beaux moments, mais de mauvais quart d’heures!

Source: pages 543-544 of Dr. Emil Naumann, Italienische Tondichter von Palestrina bis auf die Gegenwart. Eine Reihe von Vorträgen, gehalten in den Jahren 1874 und 1875. Berlin, Verlag von Robert Oppenheim, 1876.


  1. Please translate into the King's English.

  2. England has no king at the moment, so I shall take the King of Prussia as my model, Tom:

    No-one is further therefrom, the originality of the creator of Lohengrin to put into doubt, than I; only that it for us the composer from time to time really difficult makes, the beauty, which we for him thank, in the chaos of notes, that his operas contain, to find. You will it yourself already experienced have: Mr Wagner has beautiful moments, but dreadful quarter hours.