Is his plot a deliberate departure from the usual German plots?
That’s what the novel itself was trying to answer – how we perceive the world of the “heroes” of the German novel, how they view the world around them. For a long time, the question was a sort of philosophical one for Wagner. But the real-world response seems to be a different matter – the plot of the novel is a very literal attempt at rethinking our understanding of heroism.
Did your brother, Michael Lohse, have a big effect on you as a composer?
Yeah, he was an extremely talented young man who was interested in all things Wagner. He played the cello well when he was in his teens. He was the first one to write a theme for us in the early 20th century. The score for that movie is a bit like a Wagnerian epic. Michael Lohse was very interested in my work during the past three and half years, in the sense that he was constantly bringing me music. He wrote a lot of stuff – some of which I actually enjoyed, some of which I didn’t like so much.
Did you always want your brother to write music?
Of course. I think he would have done great, but we never really communicated. I think he thought I was a rather eccentric and unruly young man. I think he felt quite insecure about my musical interests because I didn’t seem to have any. It’s been a long time and there are so many reasons to feel insecure that it was only natural we should not have any contact – as a rule. In that regard, we certainly didn’t always get along. It’s funny – I’m writing a book and am thinking: ‘Why don’t I ask him to help me with that?’
Do you have any regrets about being not close to your brother?
It’s true, it’s a painful thing to have to think such a thing. But the truth is, he became quite distant, as I always felt he was. I was young and naive and had a very naïve view of people, which he never let on. And so at the end of the day, as I say, it took me some time to accept who he really was.
He didn’t want to tell you that – did he?
No, he didn’t. He was a good friend, and he didn’t know, and I didn’t know – I would not like him to talk about
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