Music: End of the Trail

For two generations, Wagner scholars (including famed Biographer Ernest Newman) tried in vain to get a look at the largest collection of Wagneriana outside the Wagner shrine at Bayreuth—the "Burrell Collection." Last week, more than 60 years after Englishwoman Mary Burrell began the job of assembling it, the best of her collection was published: Letters of Richard Wagner (Macmillan; $10.50). For Wagner scholars, it was the end of a long, long trail.

Wealthy and devoted Mary Burrell considered Wagner's early biographers little better than "scribblers" who had merely "touched up" the great composer's...

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