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Table of contents

Also, it was a prose version of Parsifal that Wagner completed in August , not the poem.

The chronology also omits to make any mention of Wagner's drafts for the music of Siegfried's Tod. The chapter on story is more than a scene by scene synopsis; it amounts almost to a prose version of Wagner's Ring poems. Those who do not understand German will find it useful, although it is not a complete substitute for reading a good English translation. When Holman nods, it is probably the result either of relying too much upon the condensed stage directions given in the Schirmer vocal scores, or of confusing the ideas of producers with Wagner's own directions.

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Thus in the introduction to Wi p. The chapter on the music consists of a brief introduction -- strongly influenced by Gutman and perpetuating his wrong-headed ideas about Wagner's Leitmotiven -- followed by a discussion of each of motives or complexes. This discussion is interesting, although it does not add very much to what the reader can find in Deryck Cooke 's articles and recordings.

As well as being, like many American writers, influenced by Gutman's dreadful book, Holman is also keen on Donington 's Jungian interpretations of the Ring. As a result the chapter on the music should be treated with more caution than the other chapters.

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The chapter on the major characters and groups is readable and accurate, although Holman might have said more about the influence of Greek mythology. The concordance lists the occurrences of "principal words". It is based on the "literal" English translations by Lionel Salter and William Mann, presumably because these can be found in the booklets accompanying major studio recordings. It is not a concordance of the German poems.

One might question the selection of "principal words"; Holman ignores key words such as "eternal" Ewig , "distress" Noth and "envy" Neid but includes words such as "eel", which appears once in the cycle. It might be objected that this book only engages with Wagner's text on a surface level of trivia, leaving its depths untouched. Two professional philosophers, who are also amateur singers, offer their views on the Ring.

The book does not, as its title might suggest, discuss the ending of the Ring ; nor does it examine the difficulties that Wagner experienced in deciding on an ending for the cycle. The ending referred to in the book's title is "das Ende", the outcome that Wotan seeks, even after he has given up all other objectives and ambitions. Kitcher and Schacht do not presume to present a full-blown philosophical interpretation of the tetralogy but rather a philosophical excursion through it. They argue that the Ring is a work of philosophical substance and depth, even though Wagner was by his own admission not a philosopher.

Although their discussion of the work is mainly concerned with ideas and concepts, it is illustrated by references to the words and music, and clearly based on a close study of Wagner's scores.

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Michael Tanner writes It is the latter that they are exclusively concerned with, and they argue their case with style and passion. Lucy Beckett, reviewing this book in the Times Literary Supplement , writes: The organization of the book, in short and coherent chapters which nevertheless take us through the complicated course of four operas, is exemplary; there is a helpful, detailed synopsis of the whole work; the discussion is concerned with profound questions, yet is readily comprehensible to a reader without specialist knowledge.

It is difficult to imagine anyone interested in the Ring , from old Wagner hands to beginners attracted by bits of music, who would not gain much from reading this book. This book would have been improved if the authors or their editor had gone through it deleting every other adjective.

Wagner's Siegfried (Opera Journeys Mini Guide Series)

An edited transcript of interval talks. Holman writes: Lee views The Ring as evolutionary, both inwardly in terms of a soul in crisis and outwardly as the prevailing religious cosmos gives way to a higher level of ethical consciousness. This may be a doctrinal interpretation, but it is made as elegantly and persuasively as any Ring analysis. Includes a discography.

The 64 watercolour illustrations of scenes from the Ring that were first published with an English translation of the poems. The author examines the historical origins of 19th century European interest in "Northern" myth, the relationship of the Ring to Sophocles' Oedipus , and the Ring as an allegory of the course of European history in the 18th and 19th centuries. Character studies in the dramatis personae of the tetralogy.

Each of the eleven chapters discusses a single character, starting with Alberich and ending with Wotan. With three appendices, dealing the sources of the cycle, the operas and the philosophy behind them; and a bibliography. An idiosyncratic interpretation of the Ring. Holman writes: Shaw's interpretation seems more misguided today than ever.

This is a little harsh. In at least two respects, Shaw was right. First, in drawing attention to the political dimension of the work. Although the Ring is not exactly the socialist parable that Shaw would have us believe it, in its initial conception the tetralogy was very much political. At the end of his Dresden years Wagner was preoccupied with revolution, not just affecting art and the theatre but society in general.

His world-view, although it was coloured by utopian socialism, was essentially anarchistic. This is reflected in the Ring by the rejection of laws and commandments, troubled treaties' treacherous bonds and custom's stern decree , as it was expressed by Wagner in the ending. Shaw played down the anarchism because he wanted us to see Wagner as a socialist; in reality his political outlook was both more naive and more complex than Shaw was willing to acknowledge. Compared to Das Rheingold , the last part of the cycle is indeed closer, in structure and forms, to operatic conventions than to the prescriptions of Opera and Drama.

An interpretation is presented in which Nietzsche's criticisms form the basis of a positive reading of The Ring. A musical analysis of Das Rheingold , drawing on Lorenz and Schenker. Darcy proves, at least to his own satisfaction, the unity of the Lorentzian periods which he calls "episodes" by demonstrating that they make Schenkerian sense. The first systematic investigation of Wagner's sketches for the Ring.

Von Westernhagen, taking each of the four dramas in turn, compares the sketches with the finished score. He shows how far the original inspirations were preserved, clarified or modified in the process of forging the Ring. Wolzogen is credited with inventing the term "Leitmotiv" and his analysis of Wagner's works is largely a guide to the Leitmotiven and their evolution. Many of the names given to these 'musical calling cards' by Wolzogen such as Inheritance of the World or Sea-motif have stuck, whether we like it or not.

Its title varied as the Guide was republished. Lewis looks at the ethics portrayed in the Ring by studying each portion scene by scene and expounding upon each point as it is presented throughout the cycle. A Jungian understanding of Wagner's Ring cycle.

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Bolen uses the characters and situations of the Ring as a starting point to discuss Jungian ideas, without casting much light on the Ring in the process. Laon writes: "Jungian analysis can be interesting when it is applied to myth. It is, after all, largely based on Jung's ideas about myth, which makes Jungian ideas fairly apt for reading a myth-based work like the Ring. Robert Donington is a Jungian true believer, who applies Jung's ideas with considerable ingenuity and interest.

Sometimes he will do anything to fit Wagner into the Jungian framework. For example, he reads the very male dragon Fafner as the mother in her devouring aspect. That is a pretty desperate reading: Fafner is nobody's female principle, and only someone with a strongly pre-determined agenda could try to make him one.

Still, Donington is often insightful.

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Because, says Donington, Fricka is somehow representing Erda's wisdom in this appearance. Fricka may not seem wise but on this occasion she is right. This and a hundred other small insights makes this a worthwhile and constantly interesting book, which is also very good on Wagner's mythological sources. Donington is right in thinking that the Ring is an endlessly complex and profound work; but probably wrong in thinking that Jung holds the key. While Donington's overall reading is eccentric and not entirely reliable, this is a very enjoyable and often an insightful book.

Including colour illustrations of his costume designs for the first production of the Ring. Holman writes: A good behind-the-scenes account of an artistic collaboration, this book documents with wit and charm the successes and trials of the immense effort. Moreover, by showing us how musical problems were faced and solved, Culshaw sheds much light on the meaning of The Ring itself. An account of the Hall and Solti production of the 'Ring' in Bayreuth. With 32 pages of photographs. For a "critical score" there are too many misprints in the music.

Compare with one of the recent critical scores. Some of the essays from various commentators including Donald Tovey and Alfred Lorenz are valuable. Chafe argues that Wagner's Tristan und Isolde is a musical and dramatic exposition of metaphysical ideas inspired by Schopenhauer. The book is a critical account of Tristan , in which the drama is shown to develop through the music.

This page study of Wagner's score is surely the most thorough analysis ever attempted of any of Wagner's works. North shows that behind the Leitmotiven that dominate the analyses of Wolzogen, Lorenz and others, the musical material of Tristan was developed from three simple figures, all heard in the Prelude.