Skip to comments.Don't be scared of Wagner
Posted on 05/21/2013 11:56:02 AM PDT by Borges
Wednesday marks 200 years since the birth of Richard Wagner, the most violently controversial musician in history. His Italian contemporary Verdi born in the same year is acknowledged as a genius for all time. But Wagner, though he has the more passionate advocates, also has the most determined detractors. Why, they complain, are his operas so heavy-sounding, so terribly long, so full of weird mythical figures? In short: why are they so German?
When I started going to the opera not so long ago, I was asked which work had drawn me to the art form. Perhaps people expected me to say a lyrical Rossini or delightful Mozart, because I got funny looks when I said it was Wagners final opera, Parsifal the six-hour epic based on medieval legend, featuring the Holy Grail and a castrated sorcerer. Oh, said one woman I met, dont tell me youre becoming one of those Wagnerians? She could barely hide her distaste.
What I loved about Parsifal was that transcendent music was allied to superb drama. Parsifal, an innocent knight, battles his way into a sorcerers lair in order to rescue a holy spear. To succeed, he must reject the sexual temptation of the flower maidens who, like the Sirens of Greek mythology, send many a knight to his doom. It might sound a touch silly, but in an age when were happy to read deep meanings into fantasies such as The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, surely we can be open-minded about Wagners plots?
A bigger problem is the Nazi associations.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
For trivia buffs, Wagner died in the building that now houses the Venice Casino.
Truth be told, “Entry of the Guests” from Tannhauser is about as good as it gets.
I have always liked Wagner, but then again, I am a sucker for sappy, sentimental music (according to my wife).
I LIKE Wagner! LOL!
But I also like led Zeppelin, the Stones, Berlioz, Beethoven, Verdi, B.B. King, etc etc etc.
Many years ago, the Ring was broadcast on PBS for several nights running.
I watched EVERY minute of it! LOL!
“She’s his aunt!”
I high school music class, we had to do a report on a composer. This was to be an oral report in front of the class.
I told the teacher I wanted to do Wagner, thinking his name sounded alot less foreign that the other composers, and I might be able to understand him. My teacher signed me up, without even correcting me on the pronunciation.
The little jerk was going to let me get up in front of the class as pronounce his name wrong. Luckily somebody corrected me before it got to that.
Anyway, I’ll never forget Wagner.
To paraphrase a VW commercial years ago - “German composing is in the house!”
As a former horn player, Sigfried’s theme, Til euilenspiegel, Tchaikovsky 4 (the opening), and the chorus from Mahler’s 1st, and any or the Gabrielli Canzoni, are near the tippy top of the musical food chain.....for french horn!
Yeah, left some stuff out, but the initial meme is Herr Wagner...
It has been said that Wagner would wear white gloves to conduct music written by Jewish composers, then remove them after the performance, throwing them on the stage to have them swept up later.
Your wife thinks Wagner is sappy and sentimental?
French horn? Don’t forget the Largo of Dvorak’s 9th!
Wagner’s genius has a lasting appeal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ll4qS4anGo
Excalibur’s symphonic ending
“I’m told that Wagner’s music is much better than it sounds” - Mark Twain
Or Mozart’s Horn Concerto.
But back to Wagner, “Siegfried’s Funeral March” is awesome. John Williams borrowed heavily from Wagner for his “Star Wars” suite.
“I love the sound of Wagner in the morning”
I love the sound of Wagner in the morning
“The Ride of the Valkyries”
Me too. Did you ever play “Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral”? Unbelievable. Starts softly and the whole piece is one gradual crescendo. At the end you are blowing your heart out.
Isn't that like blaming the creator(s) of the good luck sign for Nazism and the "evil swastika"?
Ask that teach if the president resides in the Vhite Haus.
Didn't the Dixie Chicks movie Shut Up And Sing teach us ANYTHING? You aren't supposed to criticize or boycott an entertainer simply because of their politics or comments, no matter how offensive.
Nothing was like the Bugs Bunny sendup “What’s Opera, Doc?”
It mixed in Fliegende Hollander, Die Walkure, and Tannhauser among others.
“Oh, Bwunhilde, you’re so wuvwy...”
"Yes, I know it ... I can't hellllp it..."
It's more Wagner's book about the Jews than the fact that Hitler took him up. He wasn't quite "the Nazis favorite composer" -- plenty of Nazis were bored to death by the Bayreuth festival -- but he definitely had strong feelings against the Jews and certainly was a major influence on Hitler himself.
I like you.
I decided to introduce him to live opera. I also decided NOT to introduce him to operatic music and drama via Wagner.
I bought tickets for a new and stunning production of "Madama Butterfly" at the Lyric Opera House in Chicago. It was the right move....he sat in his seat through all the acts as if mesmerized.
The Butterfly is a right choice for newbies to opera.....dramatic, melodic and colorful setting-wise.
I know if I brought him to a Wagnerian opera he'd never want to go again. I don't think he could have sat still that long...or could have sat through all the unmelodic recitatives.
The upshot of that lovely evening? He never asked to go to another opera again, anyhow....after all my planning and plotting.
After listening to the Act III finale of The Valkyrie, with the Magic Fire, over and over and over all weekend, I decided that Wagner was almost an addiction. I listen to the last 15 minutes, four times an hour, for hours on end. I am seriously worried about it. Perhaps no physical dependence, but there is definitely a psychological craving/dependence and tolerance--the more I listen, the more I crave to produce the same effect. It is even making music like Beethoven and Bach sound...plebeian. Now when it gets to that point, it's a pathology. I've always known that I was not quite normal, but this...has me worried.
Those broadcasts care now available in DVD. I have the complete set.
It does sound like that, but...the Ring is, to me, quite the opposite of what is portrayed by Wagner's detractors. Even considering the ubermensch, Wotan is brought down by his own hubris and, ultimately for trading Freia for Valhalla.
Do not like Wagner. Musician here. Music without cadences is like a run-on paragraph without punctuation.
Ha, I’m with Mark Twain.
It does have cadences. Just at the end of an Act of an Opera.
Wotan was brought down by making shady deals with shady characters and not expecting to keep his end of the bargain.
“With my spear and my magic helmet!”
“Your spear and your magic helmet?”
“Yes...magic helmet! And I’ll give you a SAM-PLE....!!”
Wagner was a gateway into the world of opera, I, like your husband, was raised in a rural area where Hank Williams was on the radio not Madame Butterfly.
Still, I ain't gonnin’ to see “Cats” no matter how good it is suppose to be/ lol
Frankly some people hate just because they heard Hitler loved it or that Wagner was an anti Semite
Of these critics have a jaundiced eye towards it way before the opening of the first act.
It's their lost.
BTW The NY Metropolitan Opera did a great performance of the Der Ring des Nibelungen and the stage it was performed on almost outshone the actors. It, along with great lightening kept shifting like giant keys on a piano. Words fail me but one has to see it to appreciate the genius of it's workings...
If you like Wagner you gotta get a copy of this version of it.
I do love me some Tannhäuser.
Don't forget Leonard Cohen, Iron Butterfly & Queen.
What was this thread about again?
I drug my ex to the HGO, she slept the first three years, then she got it.
The Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde is brilliant...as is much his music. That he was a solid gold pr*ck is a separate issue.
and the chorus from Mahlers 1st”
Mahler’s 2nd, maybe (or 8th)?
That particular staging was shown in HD around the country at the cinema. I went to a few. Missed a few also, but will get the DVDs....
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