Impressions Of The First Time Listening To Der Ring des Nibelungen

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1 min read

After listening to 15 hours of Wagner’s Ring cycle on Spotify, I’m in awe.
I don’t speak German well enough to do more than pick out some words and sentences now and then, so it was background music as I programmed.
The story is bonkers. Like what-are-you-smoking-because-I-don’t-think-it’s-legal bonkers.

The music is in fine Teutonic Wagner tradition. Big orchestra, lots of brass, strings, anvils. You name it, he threw it in there and if he couldn’t find it, he invented it. What Wagner lacks in the sort of subtlety you’d find in Mozart or Puccini, he makes up for it in large pieces, vigorously played and thundered from the stage. That’s not to say he isn’t delicate and refined when he wants to be, but most of the music reflects the conflict of gods, giants, dragons, heroes, and villains.
“Bombastic” isn’t the right word, but forgive me if I use it here. Wagner is too sincere and too German for the Cycle to be pretentious, but he certainly bombards the listener.
I get it now why the Nazis went nuts for Wagner. Nothing says Teutonic brashness quite like the Der Ring des Nibelungen.
You want leitmotifs? *slaps hood of the opera* This baby will fit so many leitmotifs in it.
I recommend it. In fact, I might track down a hard copy so when the Progressives purge it for some stupid reason, I’ll be able to play “Ride of the Valkyries” as I napalm their safe spaces.
 

4 Comments

  1. Wagner’s music does instill within a sense of respect and admiration for Western European history and tradition. Personally,I am always stirred in my spirit by The Pilgrims Chorus from Tannhauser. Wagner was indeed a complex and abrasive human being and yet he could express such rousing manly imagery and tender female emotion by his compositions.

    • Thank you for the comment, Ralph. I’ll have to listen to Tannhauser soon. I’m really liking Wagner’s approach to operatic music.

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