May’s composer of the month is Richard Wagner.
Born: May 22, 1813
Died: February 13, 1883
• As a child, Wagner had little interest or aptitude for music, and was the only one of his siblings to not take piano lessons.
• Wagner's first completed opera, Die Feen, wasn't premiered until 1888 — five years after the composer's death.
• Wagner popularized the concept of leitmotifs — themes associated with a particular person, place or idea — which later became the foundation of film scores.
• Wagner has a controversial reputation as a composer, primarily due to his association with Nazism. It is alleged that Hitler once said, "Whoever wants to understand National Socialist Germany must know Wagner."
• The composer had a love of animals (he was particularly devoted to his dogs) and swore off eating meat toward the end of his life.
Three important works:
• Die Walküre (1854)
• Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (1867)
• Götterdämmerung (1869)
Audio Backpack playlist: Richard Wagner