At a young age, Wilhelm Richard Wagner came under the spell of Weber’s opera, Der Freischutz, and copied the entire score to memorize. He was profoundly influenced by a Beethoven symphony, heard for the first time in Leipzig. The mighty music thundered in his mind as he walked from the concert hall, and he determined, then and there, to become a great composer.
As Opal Wheeler’s light-hearted and lively biography reveals, Richard Wagner is an amazing example in music history—one of the few composers of stature who learned his art from the untutored study of the masterpieces of his day. (122 minutes in length)
You can listen to the first chapter here.