|The Aryan Myth: Richard Wagner|
Richard Wagner was the most politically incorrect composer in
history and also was one of the worst anti-Semites of the 19th
Century. The German composer's behavior and religious views
were off the charts of civilized society. In many ways he was a
monster. Wagner believed that all Jews should be burned up.
Wagner had many Jewish friends, although he thought of Jews as formal cannibals. Wagner hated Jews because Jewish financiers and impresarios failed to support him at the start of his career; and Jewish competitors such as the composer Giacomo Meyerbeer, whose operas in the 1840s were far more successful than Wagner's early efforts. In some of his more levelheaded moments, Wagner was tolerant of the Jews, and said "If I wrote about the Jews again, I would say there is nothing to be held against them, only they came to us Germans too soon; we were not stable enough to absorb this element."
His music and attitude had a great influence on Hitler and the Nazis, even though he died in 1883, 50 years before Hitler rose to power. Wagner is an example of the Aryan myth (the belief of the superiority of some races over others) is expressed through music. Von Bulow was among the first of more than a century of music lovers who would face the challenge of bridging what Gordon Craig calls "the gulf between the tremendous music and the mean-spirited man."