Friday, July 3 (3rd of July 1874)

Cosima Wagner Diaries

Arrival of the photographs of Marie Muchanoff, sent to me by Frau Standhartner, a moving moment, transporting me with R. into memories of her personality. “Her downfall,” R. observes, “was her inability to find words for the enthusiasm which she proved in deeds.” — 

Yesterday R. talked about Nicolai, who would certainly have been nothing without Bach and Mozart, but also nothing without Auber and the Italians. His opera The Merry Wives of Windsor, he said, was a conglomeration “which a trained musician makes out of all these elements in order to show that a German can do it, too—but we Germans cannot succeed this way. — It even extends to certain things in Weber, in Euryanthe, this aspiration of the Germans to prove themselves equals in a foreign style.” R. prefers Fra Diavolo to The Merry Wives because the former is naive. “A curious creature, Auber,” he says, “so gifted, so witty, and yet at the same time so superficial, so shallow.”

R. finds The Merry Wives extremely boring, whereas Fra Diavolo, with its circus characters, is entertaining. But the Strauss waltzes (by the elder Strauss) better than Auber, they have fire; also, they are genuine products, Vienna really did evolve the waltz out of its own essence. — 

I write some letters for R. and give lessons to the children. A fine evening, the children playing on the lawn; later, music; of the moment in the garden R. says, “Oh, stay a while, you are so fair!” — 

Death of General Concha, fine, though in the saddest of circumstances, for at least the Carlists still have faith and fanaticism; the others, however—for what do they shed their blood, how can they show true heroism? A vanishing world—most dismal of sights.

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