Wesendonck, Mathilde

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Wesendonck, Mathilde

Wesendonck, Mathilde (née Luckemeyer), German poet; b. Elberfeld, Dec. 23, 1828; d. Traunblick, near Altmünster on the Traunsee, Austria, Aug. 31,1902. Her first meeting with Richard Wagner took place in Zürich, early in 1852, and soon developed into a deep friendship. She wrote the famous Fünf Gedichte {Der Engel, Stehe still, Träume, Schmerzen, and Im Treibhaus), which Wagner set to music as studies for Tristan und Isolde. On May 19, 1848, she married Otto Wesendonck (b. March 16, 1815; d. Berlin, Nov. 18, 1896); in 1857 he gave Wagner the use of a beautiful house on his estate on Lake Zürich, where the first act of Tristan und Isolde was written and the 2nd act sketched.


A. Heintz, ed., Briefe Richard Wagners an Otto Wesendonk (Charlottenburg, 1898; 2nd ed., aug., 1905 by W. Golther; Eng. tr., 1911); idem, ed., Richard Wagner an M. W.: Tagebuchblätter und Briefe 1853-1871 (Leipzig, 1904; 30th ed., rev., 1906; Eng. tr., 1905); H. Beiart, Richard Wagners Liebestragodie mit M. W.(Dresden, 1912); J. Kapp, ed., Richard Wagner an M. und Otto W.(Leipzig, 1915; 2nd ed., 1936); E. Müller von Asow, ed., Johannes Brahms und M. W.: Ein Briefwechsel (Vienna, 1943); J. Bergfeld, Otto und M. W.s Bedeutung für das Leben und Schaffen Richard Wagners (Bayreuth, 1968).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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