Book Musik 030 – Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music by Alex Ross

Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music by Alex Ross Cover graphic

Tosh and Kimley discuss Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music by Alex Ross. A famous quip goes “Wagner’s music is better than it sounds.” Whether you find Wagner’s music to be sublime or bombastic, this is an essential read. It is not a biography or an examination of his music but, more interestingly, it’s a very deep dive into the enormous cultural and political influence Richard Wagner has had on his contemporaries and everyone since, from writers to painters, dancers, philosophers, politicians, and filmmakers. The diversity of those who’ve come under the spell of Wagnerism is beyond compare. And this is despite Wagner’s well-known antisemitism and association with Hitler and the Nazi regime. Cancel culture hasn’t quite figured out what to do with Wagner but Ross leaves no stone unturned in this enormous and hugely satisfying read.

Theme music: “Behind Our Efforts, Let There Be Found Our Efforts” by LG17


Book Musik 029 – Judy Garland’s Judy at Carnegie Hall (33 1/3) by Manuel Betancourt

Judy Garland's Judy at Carnegie Hall 33 1/3 bookTosh and Kimley discuss Judy Garland’s Judy at Carnegie Hall by Manuel Betancourt from the 33 1/3 series. This live double album was a milestone in pop-culture history. Recorded in 1961, the album is an homage to the American songbook, was on the Billboard charts for over 70 weeks, won four Grammy Awards and has never been out of print. It was a highwater mark both in terms of Garland’s career and as part of the cultural and sociological zeitgeist of the 60s. Garland looms large as an old-Hollywood film icon and as one of the most celebrated gay icons. Her life was full of tragedy and triumph and this album is undoubtedly at the pinnacle of her many triumphs.

Theme music: “Behind Our Efforts, Let There Be Found Our Efforts” by LG17