Wagner himself wrote much about his historical role in music, especially in the evolution of opera. He aroused adulation in many of his contemporaries, but he ignored some composers, such as Brahms, and Verdi, who today are regarded as scarcely less important than himself by the musical public.
Wagner met BERLIOZ in Paris in 1860 and sent him the score of Tristan und Isolde. Berlioz wrote: "I have read and re-read this strange piece of music; I have listened to it with the profoundest attention and lively desire to discover the sense of it; well, I have to admit that I still haven't the least notion of what the composer is driving at." 554
There are many stories about what ROSSINI said about Wagner. He was asked how he liked the performance of Tannhäduser; he answered, with a satirical smile, "It is music one must hear several times. I am not going again."555 Rossini also said: "Mr. Wagner has beautiful moments, but bad quarters of an hour." 556 A friend once found him studying the score of Tristan und Isolde and asked him what he thought of it. "Ah," he said, "it is a beautiful work! I never expected to find such grace of expression, such power of invention in the music of the reformer of our old dramatic operas, the scores of Mozart, Gluck, Cimarosa, Weber, Mercadante, Meyerbeer--and my own!" His visitor, coming closer, was dumbfounded to observe that Rossini was reading Wagner's score upside down. Whereupon, inverting the score, Rossini said after a glance, "Alas, now I cannot make head or tail of it!"557
During one of his weekly dinners for which Rossini brought together some noted guests, at the point at which the menu mentioned turbot à l'allemande, the servants placed before the guests a very appetizing sauce,
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Publication information: Book title: Composers on Composers. Contributors: John L. Holmes - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1990. Page number: 152.
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