Label: Deutsche Grammophon - 00289 479 4640,Decca - 00289 479 4640 • Series: Karajan • Format: 70x, CD Box Set Compilation, Limited Edition • Country: Europe • Genre: Classical • Style: Classical, Romantic, Opera
Franz Konwitschny Royal Opera House orchestra and chorus. Herbert von Karajan Berlin Philharmonic. Marek Janowski Staatskapelle Dresden orchestra and chorus. James Levine Metropolitan Opera orchestra and chorus. Daniel Barenboim Bayreuth Festival orchestra and chorus. CD: Decca Cat: Stereo. CD: Naxos Records Cat: 8. There is so much in these bloody pieces, all you can do is try to live up to them. They take everything personally. It makes you a little bit scared, and it's really quite terrifying.
The audience, as much as the artists, must be prepared for a performance. It was the year after Wieland Wagner had died; to be able to see his productions was a total knock-out. Fischer-Dieskau's highly intelligent Wotan is occasionally barked when Wagner forces him beyond his natural capabilities.
Otherwise his account of the part is as musical and intelligent as one would expect it to be. Altogether, Karajan's Das Rheingold is a delight.
He then asks for the return of the Tarnhelm, but Loge says that it is part of his ransom. Alberich still hopes he can keep the ring, but Wotan demands it, and when Alberich refuses, Wotan tears it from Alberich's hand and puts it on his own finger. Crushed by his loss, Alberich lays a curse on the ring: until it should return to him, whoever possesses it will live in anxiety and will eventually be robbed of it and killed.
The gods reconvene. Fasolt and Fafner return with Freia. Fasolt, reluctant to release her, insists that the gold be piled high enough to hide her from view. Wotan is forced to relinquish the Tarnhelm, to help cover Freia completely. However, Fasolt spots a remaining crack in the gold, through which one of Freia's eyes can be seen.
Loge says that there is no more gold, but Fafner, who has noticed the ring on Wotan's finger, demands that Wotan add it to the pile, to block the crack. Loge protests that the ring belongs to the Rheinmaidens, and Wotan angrily declares that he intends to keep it for his own.
As the giants seize Freia and start to leave, Erda , the earth goddess, appears and warns Wotan of impending doom, urging him to give up the cursed ring. Troubled, Wotan calls the giants back and surrenders the ring. The giants release Freia and begin dividing the treasure, but they quarrel over the ring itself. Fafner clubs Fasolt to death. Wotan, horrified, realizes that Alberich's curse has terrible power. Donner summons a thunderstorm to clear the air, after which Froh creates a rainbow bridge that stretches to the gate of the castle.
Wotan leads the gods across the bridge to the castle, which he names Valhalla. Loge does not follow; he says in an aside that he is tempted to destroy the treacherous gods by fire — he will think it over. Far below, the Rhine maidens mourn the loss of their gold and condemn the gods as false and cowardly. Because Wagner developed his Ring scheme in reverse chronological order, the "poem" libretto for Das Rheingold was the last of the four to be written.
He finished his prose plan for the work in March , and on 15 September began writing the full libretto, which he completed on 3 November. These are poems and texts from 12th and 13th-century Iceland, which relate the doings of various Norse gods. Among these stories, a magic ring and a hoard of gold held by the dwarf Andvari Wagner's Alberich are stolen by the gods Odin Wotan and Loki Loge and used to redeem a debt to two brothers.
One of these, Fafnir, kills his brother and turns himself into a dragon to guard the gold. A few Rhinegold characters originate from outside the Eddas. Mime appears in the Thidriks saga , as a human smith rather than as an enslaved Nibelung. Wagner may also have been influenced by the Rhine-based German legend of Lorelei , who lures fishermen on to the rocks by her singing, and by the Greek Hesperides myth in which three maidens guard a golden treasure.
Robert Jacobs, in his biography of the composer, observes that the "Nibelung Myth" on which Wagner based his entire Ring story was "very much a personal creation", the result of Wagner's "brilliant manipulation" of his sources. Holman, in his "Listener's Guide and Concordance" , cites the Alberich character as typifying Wagner's ability to "consolidate selected aspects from diverse stories to create Wagner originally conceived the first scene of Das Rheingold as a prologue to the three scenes that follow it.
As early as , in his novella "A Pilgrimage to Beethoven", Wagner had anticipated a form of lyric drama in which the standard operatic divisions would disappear. In the new kind of musical drama, he wrote, the traditional operatic norms of chorus, arias and vocal numbers would have no part. Holman counts 42,  while Roger Scruton , in his philosophical analysis of the Ring , numbers them at Apart from some early sketches in , relating to Siegfried's Death , Wagner composed the Ring music in its proper sequence.
According to his memoirs, Wagner's first inspiration for the music came to him in a half-dream, on 4 September , while he was in Spezia in Italy. He records a feeling of "sinking in swiftly flowing water. The rushing sound formed itself in my brain into a musical sound, the chord of E flat major, which continually re-echoed in broken forms I at once recognised that the orchestral overture to the Rheingold, which must long have lain latent within me, though it had been unable to find definite form, had at last been revealed to me".
He finished the first draft in mid-January , and by the end of May had completed the full orchestral score. At that point, in , he set Siegfried aside in order to work on Tristan und Isolde , and did not return to the Ring project for 12 years.
Long before Das Rheingold was ready for performance, Wagner conducted excerpts of the music from Scenes 1, 2 and 4, at a concert in Vienna on 26 December Wagner was refused admission to the rehearsals at the theatre, and returned, angry and defeated, to his home in Triebschen.
Accounts differ as to the success or otherwise of the Munich premiere. Osborne maintains that the performance was successful,  as does Holman,  [n 2] while Oliver Hilmes in his biography of Cosima describes it as "an artistic disaster". In , with the Bayreuth Festspielhaus built, Wagner was ready to stage the first Bayreuth Festival with his own production of the now complete Ring cycle, beginning with a performance of Das Rheingold on 13 August.
This event was preceded by months of preparation in which Wagner was deeply engaged; according to witnesses, he was "director, producer, coach, conductor, singer, actor, stage manager, stage hand and prompter". The 13 August premiere was an event of international importance, and attracted a distinguished audience which included Kaiser Wilhelm I , Emperor Pedro II of Brazil and numerous representatives of the various European royal houses.
A young er Wotan is wondering the mean streets one, hot, summer evening. A bit like Travis Bickle, but without the homic Twerp it. Ars Super Omnia. Porgs in The Millenium FAlcon She's becoming the Holy Mother.
Royal Opera House announces Ring Cycles for ! Must start saving now…. When I started this blog I worked in Denmark, but in , after I be Our thanks to The Music Great Opera Singers. Opera Cake. Contrary to the Puccini operas or the dreaded Verismo repertoire, Carmen is alwa Wagner Tripping.
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