Partly in an attempt to explain his change of views Wagner publiRichard Wagnerd in 1851 the autobiographical "A Communication to My Friends". After a funerary gondola bore Wagner's remains over the Grand Canal his body was taken to Germany where it was buried in the garden of the Villa Wahnfried in Bayreuth. Until he was fourteen Wagner was known as Wilhelm Richard Geyer.
Initially establishing his reputation as a composer of works in the romantic vein of Weber and Meyerbeer Wagner transformed operatic thought through his concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk ("total work of art") by which he sought to synthesise the poetic visual musical and dramatic arts with music subsidiary to drama and which was announced in a series of essays between 1849 and 1852. Wilhelm Richard Wagner (pron.