I have been asked by several people, why admirers of Richard Wagner´s music often seems to ignore the role his music played in The third reich (I am not sure this is true), though the exact nature of this role is still the focus of much debate. As a follow up to my previous post, the following video clips may help explain the association by many of Richard Wagner´s music with Nazism.
Below: Furtwängler or Abendrot conducting Meistersinger in Bayreuth 1942
Below: Speech by Göbbels and performance of Meistersinger at Deutsche Oper Berlin conducted by Böhm and with Vilhelm Rode as Hans Sachs in 1935:
I must admit, these clips make my blood run cold, and on a personal level these associations are the main reason I have avoided the Meistersinger for 20 years, only starting to listen to it last year although I admit, that from a logical point of view it probably doesn´t make sense to separate Wagner´s works like that, since I´ve been listening to the all his other works for more than 20 years.
Information for readers not extensively familiar with Richard Wagner: RW himself was not a nazist and did not personally know Hitler, since he died in 1883, but he was clearly antisemitic and several books have been written on the influence of RW´s music on later political events in Germany. However, several of RW´s descendants (including daughter-in-law Winifried and son-in-law Houston Stewart Chamberlain) WERE personally acquainted with Hitler and supported his political views. As far as I know, Wagner WAS NOT Hitler´s favorite composer (allegedly that was Beethoven), but Wagner´s works were performed at several official occasions and among Wagner´s operas Meistersinger was Hitler´s favourite. It doesn´t look like RW generally was a "favourite Nazi composer" since most Nazi party members apparently preferred lighter entertainment such as cabarets etc..