In my monthly essay for Standpoint, I analyse the thoughts of Maestro Thielemann as expressed in his book, My Life with Wagner (Weidenfeld, £25).
Sometimes I have nightmares. I dream that artistic quality is out of tune. I dream that art and music are destroying themselves because the quality has gone wrong. Because far too much that is trivial, empty, superficial and indifferent is rife, and is tolerated. And because none of us can find genuinely creative time to spare any more, either for ourselves or for such great work as Richard Wagner’s.
The world is a terrible place, says Thielemann. Since we can do nothing to improve human conduct, let us observe it from a safe theatrical distance and derive what comfort we can from our personal detachment and innocence. The greatest sin — nightmare — would be to neglect or distort great art, the only thing that might redeem us. Accept that the word is evil. Make good art.
Read the full essay here.