Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Lessons from Wagner about innovation: 11. eine handlung!

Wagner did not call his music drama Tristan und Isolde an opera: he called it 'eine handlung', which is German for a drama, a plot or, most significantly, an action.

This straightforward, practical choice of words provides us with a glimpse of how Wagner viewed the creative process. To him, being creative was about not merely thinking and reflecting but also making and testing: creating a physical impact upon the world (or at least his audience), looking at the results and making changes and refinements.

He wanted to change musical and dramatic practice so built a theatre, Bayreuth, within which he modelled, tried and tested his ideas. He wanted to write a major work based on the story of Tristan and Isolde so composed fully realised and performable songs, the Wesendonck Lieder, to capture and refine his thoughts.

So, like Wagner, remember that innovation is about not only thinking and reflecting but also doing, trying, testing and refining.

It is 'eine handlung': an action

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