Verdi And/Or Wagner (Hardcover)

Two Men, Two Worlds, Two Centuries

By Peter Conrad

Thames & Hudson, 9780500515938, 384pp.

Publication Date: November 7, 2011

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (4/22/2014)

List Price: 40.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Peter Conrad begins his tale in a public park in Venice, home to a pair of statues of the composers that are positioned so as to appear to shun each other. This provides a fitting starting point for his argument that they represent two opposite yet equally integral and compelling dimensions of European culture: north versus south, cerebral versus sensual, proud solitude versus human connection, epic mythmaking versus humane magnanimity.

The book is a richly argued tour de force that engages passionately and profoundly with music, biography, history, politics, philosophy, psychology, and culture in the broadest sense. As Conrad concludes, "At one time or another, if not simultaneously, we still need the two contradictory, complementary kinds of music that Verdi and Wagner left us.