Richard Wagner had arguably a greater impact on the field of classical music than any other individual in history. His influence extended to virtually every facet of musical performance – brass musicians in particular owe him a debt of gratitude for greatly increasing their importance within the orchestra.
Set to the poetry of Mathilde Wesendonck, wife of one of Wagner’s patrons (and with whom he is rumoured to have had an affair) the song cycle shares musical material with Tristan und Isolde, which he was working on at the time, and which it is believed was inspired by his relationship with Mathilde.
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