Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict
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Saturday, 10 August 2013

Richard Wagner 1813-1883 - Beyreuth Celebrations

A bust of Wagner, and piece of Reingold
on Barona's piano
It is fitting to continue to discuss Richard Wagner within the context of a Catholic blog. After viewing the Ring Cycle, I was reminded that this incredible work is one of the great monuments to recent Western civilization - it stands there with Beethoven's 9th as a triumph of genius... The influence of Wagner cannot be escaped; his influence on music was incalculable, his genius massive... as such, any serious blog needs to take this incredible man into consideration. The fact remains, his great contributions to civilization are gifts from a culture that was born of Christianity. Wagner's accomplishments are unthinkable outside of Christendom - though imbued with German philosophy - colouring his perspective - the fact remains that Wagner could never escape Christianity. Witness Parsifal. Indeed, this opera also buries the ridiculous notion that this great man had some link to Naziism. Those thugs would have jailed the man. 
Preparations at Barona's house to celebrate
the birth of Wagner

A couple of links of note: firstly, an excellent concert celebrating the 200th anniversary of the great Richard Wagner's birth. Secondly, an excellent rendition - conducted by Bruno Walter (though I have the good fortune of owning the Wilhem Steinberg interpretation) - of the Good Friday Spell, which will lead into a discussion on Wagner and religion - with a particular focus on Parsifal. More to follow.....Wagner had not given up on religion; he was beginning to discover it... 

1 comment:

Freyr said...

There is something about Wagner and the Ring Cycle that inspires a sense of gravitas that may lead to such anomalies as keeping an altar to the composer on one's mantle next to a bottle of scotch. It may safely be said that in some quarters, even in mine own home, the bottle of scotch is far more worthy of being taken seriously, even venerated. I would be remiss in my duties were I to fail to offer the following link as antidote to any perceived imbalances.
http://www.spike.com/video-clips/i8ftl4/whats-opera-doc
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2010/04/ring-cycle-parodies-.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWOU6PmkgXA