Wagner again

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Wagner again

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Wed May 12, 2010 2:38 pm

I've been listening to some Wagner lately. In the past I've posted things like "he was an artistic phenomenon whose ideas changed the world"--notice I didn't say this was a good thing. All that chromaticism. Cesar Franck must have loved him. So here's a diagram of Wagner's music:

it's boring
it's boring
it's boring
it has a dramatic or inspiring moment
it's boring

There must be some appeal to having to sit through so much ennui and then have a big reward. The Wagneristas look down on me condescendingly--"poor dummy, he doesn't get the point." I do, I just don't want to endure so much to get it.
Last edited by Giant Communist Robot on Wed May 12, 2010 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wagner again

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Wed May 12, 2010 2:40 pm

...and Oh! Why bother when there are so many fine Italian operas?
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Re: Wagner again

Postby Haggis@wk » Wed May 12, 2010 3:48 pm

Giant Communist Robot wrote:it's boring


Bubba, you don't know boring until you spent 7 hours watching the Oberammergau Passion Play when your 12......

My mother forced me to attend in 1960 and I remember thinking that it was a good thing it only occurs every 10 years. Just my luck to be in Germany in a year ending in "0." It was all in German but the handy English translation made it so much better….. :roll:


I don't think I've mentioned before but one of my classmates at Wiesbaden High School in 1967, Phil Raines, (scroll down) is a minor(?) expert on Wagner. Phil's father was an American civilian working in Wiesbaden and his mother was German. He was fluent in German and English and always attended the Wagner festival in Bayreuth as long as I knew him. He was very conversant in all sorts of Wagner trivia, although I suspected he never called it trivia.

I remember he forced me to accompany him to a modern ballet once; it was terrible. He liked Simon and Garfunkle and could pull the German chicks at the gasthaus’, very important skill to a non-German speaking teenager in 1967!!! :rofl:
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Re: Wagner again

Postby Shapley » Wed May 12, 2010 4:39 pm

Wagner is best taken in small doses. I have the 'Greatest Hits' CD and I won't even listen to that all in one sitting...
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Re: Wagner again

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Wed May 12, 2010 5:54 pm

Wagner is best taken in small doses


Some heavy editing is in order
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Re: Wagner again

Postby dai bread » Wed May 12, 2010 6:03 pm

It's probably heresy, but I think Wagner's words are more important than his music. I know he is regarded as an indifferent librettist, and I have to agree with that, at least in translation, but his stories are founded in good solid European folklore. At least, all the ones I can think of are. The "Ring", obviously, also "The Flying Dutchman" and Parsifal", and most of the others that I've just Googled. I'm not sure about "Tannhauser". The only one that isn't is the one based on Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure", "Das Liebesverbot" .

He called his works "Music-Dramas", and that's a pretty accurate description. The Italians are much more tuneful, and so, come to think of it, is everybody else before the 20th century.
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Re: Wagner again

Postby analog » Wed May 12, 2010 6:41 pm

The same Wagner of whom Mark Twain said 'His music is not so bad as it sounds....' ?
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Re: Wagner again

Postby piqaboo » Wed May 12, 2010 7:26 pm

I spent much of the only Wagner opera I've attended thinking "this guy needs an editor like Dickens needs an editor. You've said it already- move on!"
Altoid - curiously strong.
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Re: Wagner again

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Thu May 13, 2010 8:35 am

piqaboo wrote:I spent much of the only Wagner opera I've attended thinking "this guy needs an editor like Dickens needs an editor. You've said it already- move on!"

Readers Digest condensed version preferred... :rofl:
>^..^<
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Re: Wagner again

Postby Schmeelkie » Thu May 13, 2010 11:44 am

Ah, but you can't deny the appeal of his most famous work, What's Opera, Doc. :wink: Condensed version - good. Adding Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd - divine!
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Re: Wagner again

Postby Haggis@wk » Thu May 13, 2010 4:30 pm

Schmeelkie wrote:Ah, but you can't deny the appeal of his most famous work, What's Opera, Doc. :wink: Condensed version - good. Adding Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd - divine!


I posted this in 2006, As I recall even TM mentioned Bugs Bunny as being an influence in his exposure to classical music.

Trumpetmaster,

"Bugs Bunny Cartoons"

Yup, me too. There was an early Warner Bros. cartoon that had a caveman (voice by Jack Benny sound-alike??) and a magpie (big black bird). Every time the bird came on screen they started playing the overture from "Fingal's cave" and I was absolutely captivated from a very early age.

It was probably 20 years until I realized the few notes played actually belong to Mendelssohn's Hebridean overture and there was a lot of other music surrounding those few notes.

Something similar happened when I heard notes from the Greig’s anvil chorus from “Hall of the Mountain King” I loved that part but then found out there was lots of other notes around that


I didn't really get into all classical until my late 30's early 40's.
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Re: Wagner again

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:48 pm

I think Wagner's words are more important than his music.


You could be right. I can't deny the guy was the "whole package". The pace of modern life has left us too impatient to sit through his work, though, and he'll become an admired relic from the past.
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