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Music Lit 3.3.08 - o Singers rarely sing together...

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Music Lit Lecture: 3/3/08 Richard Wagner: Opposed to traditional Italian opera Built on German romantic opera like Weber, Der Freischutz (supernatural plots, important role for the orchestra) But made radical innovations Famous works include the “Ring” cycle and Tristan and Isolde Preferred the term “music drama” Revolutionary ideas about the “Gesamtkunstwerk” (total artwork) Union of music, acting, poetry, visual arts Also meant to unite the community Controversial writings, especially about music and race (Das Jedenthum in der Musik) Ideas developed first in theory (while political exile), then in practice Built his own opera house, at Bayreuth Wagner wrote his own libretti o Few regular poetic rhymes o Relied on myth and legend o Full of symbols o No division into aria and recitative
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Unformatted text preview: o Singers rarely sing together Leitmotive • “leading motive” : short musical motive associated with a character, idea, or object • Introduced so the meaning is clear • Often played by the orchestra • Can be combined or transformed, to create new meanings • Pervasive in Wagner’s music dramas The Ring of the Nibelungs The Ring Cycle (1851-76) • “Das Rheingold” : the gold of the Rhine, stolen and cursed • “Die Walkure” = Valkyrie= Brunnhilde • “Siegfried” = hero: husband, rescuer (and nephew) of Brunnhilde • “Gotterdammerung: = twilight of the gods Wagner p- 237 Gotterdammerung—“Brunnhilde’s Immolation” • Siegfried’s funeral Brunnhilde casts the Ring into the Rhine and throws herself into the fire...
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Music Lit 3.3.08 - o Singers rarely sing together...

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