Analytical Philosophy of Nietzsche on German Culture
Precisely because nothing is more modern than this total sickness, this lateness and overexcitement of the nervous mechanism, Wagner is the modern artist par excellence, the Cagliostro of modernity.

Nietzsche condemned Wagner's music, calling it a form of hysteria, and he saw Wagner's style in terms of hallucinations. Wagner was held up as a symbol of decadence in music, and this extended beyond the role of the music in art and into the realm of politics and society bearing directly on the problem of German culture:

In his art all that the modern world requires most urgently is mixed in the most seductive manner: the three great stimulantia of the exhausted--the brutal, the artificial, and the innocent (idiotic).

Nietzsche was once a very close friend to Wagner. When he was a student, Nietzsche was an admirer of Tristan und Isolde, and he loved a great deal of Wagner's music. He then considered Wagner to be Germany's greatest living composer and the nation's greatest living creative genius. Kaufmann states,

Nietzsche's discernment in such matters was generally good, and he believed that Schopenhauer, Heine, and Wagner were the most important men in German arts and letters since Goethe's death. (Later he included himself in this group.)

Of the three, Wagner was the only one still living, and Nietzsche sought him out. Wagner convinced Nietzsche that greatness and genuine creation were still possible. Wagn

 
 
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