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Title: Wagner : The Story of the Boy Who Wrote Little Plays
Author: Tapper, Thomas
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Wagner : The Story of the Boy Who Wrote Little Plays" ***

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                            CHILD'S OWN BOOK
                          _of Great Musicians_


                             THOMAS TAPPER

                          THEODORE PRESSER CO.
                          1712 CHESTNUT STREET


                         Directions for Binding

Enclosed in this envelope is the cord and the needle with which to bind
this book. Start in from the outside as shown on the diagram here. Pass
the needle and thread through the center of the book, leaving an end
extend outside, then through to the outside, about 2 inches from the
center; then from the outside to inside 2 inches from the center at the
other end of the book, bringing the thread finally again through the
center, and tie the two ends in a knot, one each side of the cord on the

                 THEO. PRESSER CO., Pub's., Phila., Pa.

                         HOW TO USE THIS BOOK

This book is one of a series known as the CHILD'S OWN BOOK OF GREAT
MUSICIANS, written by Thomas Tapper, author of "Pictures from the Lives
of the Great Composers for Children," "Music Talks with Children,"
"First Studies in Music Biography," and others.

The sheet of illustrations included herewith is to be cut apart by the
child, and each illustration is to be inserted in its proper place
throughout the book, pasted in the space containing the same number as
will be found under each picture on the sheet. It is not necessary to
cover the entire back of a picture with paste. Put it only on the
corners and place neatly within the lines you will find printed around
each space. Use photographic paste, if possible.

After this play-work is completed there will be found at the back of the
book blank pages upon which the child is to write his own story of the
great musician, based upon the facts and questions found on the previous

The book is then to be sewed by the child through the center with the
cord found in the enclosed envelope. The book thus becomes the child's
own book.

This series will be found not only to furnish a pleasing and interesting
task for the children, but will teach them the main facts with regard to
the life of each of the great musicians--an educational feature worth

                   *       *       *       *       *

This series of the Child's Own Book of Great Musicians includes at
present a book on each of the following:

        Bach                                         MacDowell
        Beethoven                                    Mendelssohn
        Brahms                                       Mozart
        Chopin                                       Schubert
        Grieg                                        Schumann
        Handel                                       Tschaikowsky
        Haydn                                        Verdi
        Liszt                                        Wagner

                           Printed in U. S. A.

                         [Illustration: No. 1]

                         [Illustration: No. 12]

                         [Illustration: No. 3]

                         [Illustration: No. 9]

                         [Illustration: No. 16]

                         [Illustration: No. 14]

                         [Illustration: No. 4]

                         [Illustration: No. 6]

                         [Illustration: No. 13]

                         [Illustration: No. 11]

                         [Illustration: No. 17]

                         [Illustration: No. 2]

                         [Illustration: No. 15]

                         [Illustration: No. 18]

                         [Illustration: No. 5]

                         [Illustration: No. 10]

                         [Illustration: No. 8]

                         [Illustration: No. 7]

                             RICHARD WAGNER

                          The Story of the Boy
                         Who Wrote Little Plays

                         This Book was made by


                          Theodore Presser Co.
                           1712 Chestnut Str.

                Copyright, 1918, by Theodore Presser Co.
                       British Copyright Secured
                          Printed in U. S. A.

    [Illustration: No. 1

    Cut the picture of Wagner from the picture sheet.

    Paste in here.

    Write the composer's name below and the dates also.]





              The Story of the Boy Who Wrote Little Plays

A very odd house used to stand in the quaint old Saxon City of Leipzig.
This house was called the Red and White Lion. I suppose no one ever
really saw a lion that was red and white, but nevertheless that was the
name of the house. There, was born Richard Wagner, who was one day to
write the wonderful opera scenes of which we will soon read.

                          [Illustration: No. 2
                          WAGNER'S BIRTHPLACE]

Richard Wagner's day of birth was May 22, 1813. That was more than a
century ago! More than twelve hundred months!

Since that time, music has changed very greatly. When Wagner was born,
much of the music that was being written had to follow certain patterns
or models just as architects follow certain patterns in building a
house. Now the composer when he writes music feels a great deal freer as
he knows that he can make his own patterns,--that he is not held in by
any such hard laws as those which held back such composers as Mozart,
Bach, Haydn and Handel. It was Wagner who did much to set music free
from the old barriers. This does not mean that music to-day is better
than music that was written by Haydn and Beethoven. Indeed it often is
not nearly so good, but it is freer, less held down by rule.

                          [Illustration: No. 3

When Wagner wrote his first opera that had any success (Rienzi) he
followed the models of composers of the day, but when he came to write
operas that followed, such as Flying Dutchman, Lohengrin and Tannhäuser,
he struck out in new and fresh paths which made him many enemies at
first and many friends later.

As we read of a great man we must learn to see the world as it was in
his day.

Today we think of the world as the home of our parents, of ourselves and
of our friends; as the world of Mr. Edison, Mr. Wilson and Mr.
Roosevelt. In the world of Wagner there was not one of these.

Who were the great musicians when he was a boy? Well, here are some of
them. Can you tell one fact about each of the men whose pictures come

                         [Illustration: No. 4]

                         [Illustration: No. 5]

                         [Illustration: No. 6]

                         [Illustration: No. 7]

Wagner's father died when he was only six months old, and the boy was
brought up by his mother and his step-father, who was very kind to him.
In one way Wagner was unlike most of the other great composers. He did
not show any talent for music until he was almost a man. All that he
thought of was writing plays. When he did study, he was so bright and
worked so hard that he learned in less than a year more than many learn
in a lifetime. Here is a picture of Wagner's mother, who cared for him
so tenderly.

                         [Illustration: No. 8]
                            WAGNER'S MOTHER

When we read the stories of Charles Dickens we make many friends. And
they are among the very best we ever have. There are Little Nell, Paul
Dombey, Sam Weller, Oliver Twist, and a host of others.

Writers like Dickens bring all sorts of people before us. _But few
composers can do such a thing._

Yet there are some who do this, and one of the greatest is Richard
Wagner. In his operas a host of people live,--people as real and as
interesting as those in the stories of Charles Dickens.

There is Walter, who sings the Prize Song in Die Meistersinger, and Eva,
whom he loves. And in the same opera there is Beckmesser, the fussy old
schoolmaster kind of a man. And Hans Sachs, the cobbler.

                         [Illustration: No. 9]
                      SCENE FROM DIE MEISTERSINGER

There is a lovely scene in the third act of this opera. We see a meadow
light and bright in the sunshine. A glistening river flows quietly
through it. Everywhere on the water there are boats. Scattered over the
meadow there are tents. Everybody is out for a holiday time. All is
lively and full of color and bright and cheery. Now there pass before us
the tradesmen singing in chorus. There are cobblers and carpenters led
by the town pipers. And every trade sings its own songs.

Then comes the scene in which Walter and Beckmesser sing in contest.
Beckmesser begins. He stutters and stammers and struggles through his
song. And finally, like a school-boy who does not know his lesson, he
breaks down.

Then Walter comes to sing the lovely _Prize Song_; a melody that just
sings itself into the heart of everyone.

                         [Illustration: No. 10]
                          WALTER'S PRIZE SONG

Do you wonder that with such lovely music Walter wins the contest and
the hand of Eva whom he loves? Jolly old Hans Sachs is so happy over it
all that he sings a rollicking song and everybody joins in with him as
the curtain goes down.

                        [Illustration: No. 11]
                               HANS SACHS

Nor was Wagner satisfied with making characters who were merely people
just like ourselves. (For Walter and Eva are people of our kind). But
there are in the operas by Richard Wagner, gods and goddesses, giants
and Rhine maidens, and Nibelungs.

Many of them have strange names. These names are easy to remember
because they are strange: Wotan and Donner are gods. Freia and Erda are
goddesses. Fafner is a giant. Flosshilde is a Rhine daughter. Mime and
Alberich are Nibelungs.

                         [Illustration: No. 12]

Oh, they are wonderful company these gods and goddesses, and others of
the company who tell their story and adventure in the operas of the
Nibelungen Ring. Here is Siegfried forging his Magic Sword Nothung.

                         [Illustration: No. 13]

Now, as we have said, when we learn of so great a man we always wonder
what sort of a boy he was. Well, when this boy was nine years old he
went to a classical school. One of his teachers at least must have been
very fond of him, and he must have been fond of his teacher, for when
Richard Wagner was only thirteen years old he translated from Greek into
German twelve books of the Odyssey for this teacher.

                         [Illustration: No. 14]
                            WAGNER AS A BOY

"I intend to become a poet," he used to say. He read _Romeo and Juliet_
in English. Then he wrote a play in which were _Hamlet_ and _King Lear_.
And there were forty-two other characters. All of these died or were
killed in the fourth act and were brought back as ghosts in the fifth!
He played the piano, too, and seems to have been quite as busy a boy as
he was a man.

Of one composer's music he was very fond. This composer lived nearby and
passed the Wagner house almost every day. Richard always ran to the
window to watch him coming. This musician was the composer of _Der
Freischütz_ and of _Oberon_. Can you guess his name?

This composer's father was also a musician as well as a military man.

                         [Illustration: No. 15]

Children will be glad to know that Wagner was very fond of animals. Here
he is with a picture of one of his dogs. His favorite dogs are buried in
the garden of his home at Bayreuth, where Wagner is also buried.

Wagner called his home at Bayreuth "Wahnfried," which really means
"Fancy Free."

It is beautifully located in the heart of the old town.

                         [Illustration: No. 16]
                           WAGNER AND HIS DOG

Later on the boy read about the contest of _Die Meistersinger_. He was
then sixteen. And he read, too, a poem called _Tannhäuser_. He kept
these stories in mind until he became a man and then he wrote an opera
about each.

Thus we see that we carry childhood thoughts into manhood.

                         [Illustration: No. 17]

Here is a list of the operas by Richard Wagner, with their names

    _The Fairies_ (1833).
    _Das Liebesverbot_ (1836) leebes-fehr-bote.
    _Rienzi_ (1842) ree-ent'-see.
    _The Flying Dutchman_ (1842).
    _Tannhäuser_ (1845) tan'-hoy-ser.
    _Lohengrin_ (1847) lo'-en-green.
    _Das Rheingold_ (1869) rhine-gold.
    _Die Walküre_ (1870) dee val-kee-reh.
    _Siegfried_ (1869) seeg'-freed.
    _Tristan and Isolde_ (1865) e-sol'-deh.
    _Die Meistersinger_ (1867).
    _Die Götterdämmerung_ (1876) dee getter-day-meh-roongk.
    _Parsifal_ (1882) par'-se-fal.

Wagner also wrote symphonies and a few works for chorus and orchestra,
but he is so much greater as a composer of music dramas that he is known
mostly for his works for the stage.


Read these facts about Richard Wagner and try to write his story out of
them, using your own words. When your story is finished, ask your mother
or your teacher to read it. When you have made it, copy it on pages 14,
15 and 16.

1. Richard Wagner wrote operas.

2. He was born May 22nd, 1813.

3. How long did Wagner study music?

4. His operas, like the novels of Charles Dickens, are full of wonderful

5. Besides people of every day kind there are gods and goddesses, and
giants, and other strange beings in his operas.

6. As a boy Richard Wagner went to a classical school.

7. He was always fond of music.

8. He could translate Greek when he was only thirteen years old.

9. Even as a little boy he said: I intend to become a poet.

10. He wrote plays and he read the plays of Shakespeare in English.

11. As a boy he studied the piano and was fond of the music of Von

12. Among the books that Richard Wagner read as a boy were the story of
_Die Meistersinger_ and the story of _Tannhäuser_.

13. He always kept these stories in mind.

14. When he became a composer he wrote an opera upon each of these

15. Tell something about Wagner and animals.

16. Richard Wagner died at Venice on Feb. 13, 1883.

                             SOME QUESTIONS

1. What kind of music did Richard Wagner compose?

2. When was he born?

3. Can you name some of the musicians who lived when Richard Wagner was
a boy?

4. How many characters from the Dickens' novel can you name from memory?

5. In what opera by Richard Wagner is _The Prize Song_?

6. Who sings it?

7. Tell what kind of a man Beckmesser is.

8. Who was the jolly cobbler singer?

9. What happened to Beckmesser in the contest with Walter?

10. What sort of characters occur in the operas?

11. See if you can describe each of these: Donner, Fafner, Mime, Freia,

12. What is the name of the house in which Richard Wagner was born?

13. Tell some of the things he did when he was a boy.

14. Who composed _Oberon_?

15. What other opera did this composer write?

16. What should we remember about childhood thoughts?

                          THE STORY OF WAGNER

Written by ..................................

On date    ..................................

Write a short story about Wagner and copy it on these pages.

                         [Illustration: No. 18]

Transcriber's Notes:

On page 9, "Odessy" was replaced with "Odyssey".

On page 11, "Die" and "Parsifal" were italicized.

The music depicted in the illustration is not from Walter's Prize Song in Die Meistersinger, but is instead the opening of the overture to that opera.

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