Skip to comments.Why We Can’t Hear Wagner’s Music
Posted on 11/22/2010 4:52:19 PM PST by mojito
Late in the nineteenth century, men and women in apparent possession of their senses heard Richard Wagners new operas and announced that their lives had changed forever. Charles Baudelaire saw Tannhäuser in 1861 and gushed, Listening to this impassioned, despotic music, painted upon the depths of darkness, riven by dreams, it seems like the vertiginous imaginings of opium. (Baudelaire, author of The Flowers of Evil, meant this as a compliment.) The twenty-three-year-old Gustav Mahler, after hearing Parsifal, wrote, I understood that the greatest and most painful revelation had just been made to me, and that I would carry it unspoiled for the rest of my life. For the first time in history, a composer lent his name to a cultural movement with ramifications far beyond music. As Adolf Hitler observed in 1943, At the beginning of this century there were people called Wagnerians. Other people had no special name.
Why did Wagner loom so large to his contemporaries? The answer is that he evoked, in the sensuous, intimate realm of musical experience, an apocalyptic vision of the Old World. Wagners stage works declared that the time of the Old Regime was overthe world of covenants and customs had come to an end, and nothing could or should restrain the impassioned impulse of the empowered individual. Wagners baton split the sea of European culture.
(Excerpt) Read more at firstthings.com ...
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Very Interesting. I wish I remembered more of My Music theory from ttoo many tears aago or still had an instrument to act it out.
Symphony for dog whistle in D minor?
I took a college course on Wagner. I love the music. Heard it just fine, too, even on those funny black plate-looking things that went round and round on a turntable.
Why is FT being posted here when I don’t have my dead-tree edition yet?
I find myself analyzing his technique while listening which I don't do with other composers. Probably because I consider him a true musical genius. Can anyone possibly imagine the brainpower and creative exertion this mortal man put into his lengthy, complicated, passionate, lofty operatic music and drama? It's incredible.
However, I don't know if I could sit through one of his operas. The subject matter in most of his works doesn't interest me all that much....and I'd hesitate going with a friend who might want to flee after the first couple hours. That would make me nervous. I guess I'll get my Wagnerian enjoyment over the radio waves and be content with that.
Gioacchino spoke for me. Sauerbraten mit kaessele ripchen. A little goes a long way.
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....
Arturo Toscanini “Vorspiel” Tristan und Isolde
My favorite non-Wagner opera is Don Giovanni, which I think is also revolutionary.
They're decomposing composers,
There's nothing much anyone can do,
You can still hear Beethoven,
But Beethoven cannot hear you.
Händel and Haydn and Rachmaninov,
Enjoyed a nice drink with their meal,
But nowadays no-one will serve them,
And their gravy is left to congeal.
Verdi and Wagner delighted the crowds,
With their highly original sound,
The pianos they played are still working,
But they're both six feet underground.
They're decomposing composers,
There's less of them every year,
You can say what you like to Debussy,
But there's not much of him left to hear.
Claude Achille Debussy, died 1918.
Christophe Willebaud Gluck, died 1787.
Carl Maria von Weber, not at all well 1825, died 1826.
Giacomo Meyerbeer, still alive 1863, not still alive 1864.
Modeste Mussorgsky, 1880 going to parties, no fun anymore 1881.
Johan Nepomuck Hummel, chatting away nineteen to the dozen with his mates down the pub every evening 1836, 1837 nothing.
The first opera I ever heard complete was the Solti recording of Gotterdammerung.I was in high school and it literally changed my life. I have been an opera fan ever since (45 plus years) but always come back to Wagner. I don’t know how many more or less complete recording of the Ring I have but it has to be in the range of a dozen.
There are people who claim those weren't Wagner's original lyrics. Don't listen to them.
I like to think so.
The bridge to Valhalla was called the Bifrost. Nonheroic mortals could travel to Valhalla by finding and touching a rainbow. What kind of welcome you would get is not said.
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