At first glance It’s generally agreed that in France at the time, The Master singers was the least studied than the more popular, Tristan or Parsifal. On closer examination, we discover in fact, The Master singers was a favorite opera amongst artists such as Alfred Bruneau, Emmanuel Chabrier, Vincent d’Indy and Reynaldo Hahn. Suprisingly, Reynaldo Hahn, (who, for the record was normally known as being the most antiwagnerian), was a close friend of the pianist Edouard Risler , who, often played The Master singers in the salon Polignac, Saint-Marceaux, Grefuhle. These salons were quiet popular haunt at the turn of the century where, Proust and Hahn would frequent to listen to this music. There is no denying that The Master singers, for whom Wagner had music critics in mind, was a great subject of discussions and debates between the two. Further more, The Master singers became the genesis of the most important questions: Who is the critic? and consequently, how can music be written within the literary form? Proust and Hahn were the first to explore these questions, as it was the major theme of their works: the title of Hahn’s chronicals in Le Figaro was « L’Ardoise de Beckmesser » and Proust cited The Master singers from his first novel Les Plaisirs et les jours to Sodome et Gomorrhe: the main objective of this article is to illustrate that from this sole opéra would be the begininngs from which of Proust and Hahn’s would develop their musical criticism style in literature.
Richard Wagner, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
L’Ardoise de Beckmesser, la critique musicale des Maîtres Chanteurs,
autour de Reynaldo Hahn et Marcel Proust