We instinctively feel the dissonance as a pang, a twinge. What might have been is set against what is. I asked several conductors for their impressions of the passage. To bring out the melancholy, Young asks the orchestra to hold back a bit. James Levine, too, senses a darkness in the music.
All that glitters: WTO's magical double-bill
When she leaves, I always have this feeling that she vanishes from functional existence. What makes it so hopeless and so tense and so haunting is something about the relationship of one sequence to the next being removed by only half a step. Above that you hear Fricka—Fricka and the truth. She is the only one who constantly tells the truth. Singers routinely perform a gesture of reconciliation.
Blythe, who first sang Fricka at the Seattle Opera, in , likewise seeks a moment of intimacy with Wotan, although with the tragic awareness that it will be the last. This music might even be a kind of secret blessing. Blessing and curse are bound together. Herrliche Maid! Glorious woman! There are musical similarities, too: echt-Romantic harmonies, downward-gliding sevenths, gracious triplets. Wotan simply disappears.
It has been some years since he conducted Wagner in the opera house, but the music is still on his mind. If you shrank one of those harmonies to minimum space on a piano keyboard, it would contain a four-note cluster—what you might get if you tried to hit a C with your fist. And this fortissimo freak-out is just the beginning. The fundamental note keeps moving down, one false bottom giving way to another, until we reach the basement of the world.
I acted unfairly. I did not return the ring to the Rhine. The curse that I fled will not flee from me now. Let all that I raised now fall in ruins! And even before, many gebildete people—educated people—did not care for Wagner because he stood for something ugly.
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My family loved Bach, Beethoven, Brahms. Because it is not simplifying.
Wagner abused power but hated the state. And that hatred is at the heart of this huge intellectual conception of absolutely Shakespearean genius. Because we can no longer idealize Wagner, he is more involving than ever. Wisely, Zizek does not spell out what those politics might be.
The music offers hope, nothing more. The perennial trouble with Wagner is that he creates ambiguity and certitude in equal measure. His music somehow instills a sense of knowing all, each listener utterly sure of his or her response.
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No artist is more fanatically loved or more fanatically hated; few people think that Wagner is merely pretty good. Ultimately, the bond that he forms with his listeners is one of pure, wordless emotion, and his gift for capturing the nuances of human feeling constantly complicates our response—as when that great rising melody for Fricka darkens at the top and then vanishes from the world.
Having long made her mark as a harpsichordist and Baroque interpreter, Virginia Black has been revisiting this repertoire on the modern concert grand.
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Her Rameau resembles her Bach in that the playing Let's be clear: there is no such thing. Exclusive music reviews and news, created specifically for classical music listeners, from the serious collector to the inquisitive newcomer. Learn More. Insider Login Top. Share This Review:. Intimate Duets, Salon Style June 25, by Jed Distler This release aims to recreate a late 18th-century European musical salon, where hostesses played keyboard duos with family and friends.
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