Opera Scotland

...a profoundly good man 2018Wagner Society of Scotland

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The speaker is Dr Paul Dawson-Bowling whose presentation is entitled ‘Not only a great, but a profoundly good man’.  This talk will be dedicated to the memory of the Society’s founder, Derek Watson, who died two weeks ago.  

Today there are many people who love to hate Wagner. They evidently gain a peculiar satisfaction from revelling in his creations while condemning their creator as a fundamentally bad man. It was not ever thus. A hundred years ago, William Ashton Ellis wrote the preface for Wagner’s letters to Mathilde Wesendonck, which he had translated, and he exclaimed, ‘So here we have not only a great but a profoundly good man’. Paul Dawson-Bowling looks at the evidence for Ellis’s standpoint, and argues that however unfashionable it may be, there is far more to justify it than for any opposite view.    

Late in life Wagner grew ever more fascinated by the keyboard works of JS Bach, and he often spent evenings in raptures as his Wahnfried ‘’court pianist’’, Josef Rubinstein, playing Bach Preludes and Fugues. As far as we know Wagner only ever knew them on the piano, but Elizabeth de la Porte, married to Paul Dawson-Bowling, will open the second half of the evening at the harpsichord, happily available on-site, presenting such music as Bach himself knew it.  She has chosen three pieces to establish links between eras, sonorities and spiritual worlds that are at first sight very different from Wagner’s.  

Paul Dawson-Bowling is the author of The Wagner Experience and Its Meaning to Us. He has written and lectured, mainly on Wagner, both at home and abroad, and for more than 30 years he was principal reviewer for Wagner News, publishing articles in the UK and America. Long years ago as a schoolboy, he cycled across Europe to the 1958 Bayreuth Festival, and after studying classics and philosophy in Oxford he spent his working life as a family doctor in East Kent.  

Elizabeth de la Porte is from Johannesburg, and at the harpsichord her defining influences were Jane Clark and Rafael Puyana. In the1970s and 80s she was acclaimed throughout Western Europe in a wide-ranging repertoire, above all for her playing of J. S. Bach and his Partitas for harpsichord. In March 1976 Records & Recording commented of her first Bach recording, " Her playing reaches the proportions of grandeur”. In 2016 she was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Music in recognition of her services to music and music education, and she has taught there for well over 50 years.

The aim of the Society is to promote knowledge and appreciation of the works of Richard Wagner.  The Society is open to all and hosts a number of events. They have a number of activities, one of which is raising money for a Bayreuth Scholarship,  to contribute towards the visit of a promising artist to the Bayreuth Festival.

New members are always welcome!

Members £7, Non-members £15 or pitch up and join.

Performance Dates...a profoundly good man 2018

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Edinburgh Society of Musicians | Edinburgh

14 Oct, 19.30

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