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The Perfect Wagnerite (Dover Books on Music)…

The Perfect Wagnerite (Dover Books on Music) (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 1898; vuoden 2010 painos)

– tekijä: George Bernard Shaw (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
241488,200 (3.88)8
As a commentator on music and music critics, Bernard Shaw was experienced and knowledgeable, strongly opinionated, and, as in all his writing, unsurpassed for brilliance and wit. The reader will find that this commentary on the cycle of four Wagner operas known as "The Ring" contains all these characteristics: it is enlightening and provocative, and it makes very entertaining reading. Shaw was firm Wagner partisan, and in the book he enthusiastically endorses the operas and Wagner's music in general. Particularly interested in the philosophic and social ideology behind the Ring operas, he also discusses Wagner's life, the character of music drama as opposed to grand opera, the role of the Leitmotif in unifying the cycle and delineating character, the character of Siegfried, and many other related questions. As with all of Shaw's work, even if the reader disagrees with much of it, he will still find the analysis full of stimulating ideas and valuable insights, and written throughout with rare liveliness and wit.… (lisätietoja)
Teoksen nimi:The Perfect Wagnerite (Dover Books on Music)
Kirjailijat:George Bernard Shaw (Tekijä)
Info:Dover Publications (2010), Edition: 4th ed., 176 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):


The Perfect Wagnerite (tekijä: George Bernard Shaw (Author)) (1898)


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näyttää 4/4
The literature on Wagner is vast - you could construct a castle as imposing as Wotan's own with the sheer tonnage of Wagner biographies, critical analyses, and musical exegeses - so I was looking for something digestible that gave an overview of the Ring Cycle's plot, themes, music, and context without getting too bogged down in over-philosophizing. That's harder to do than it sounds, since Wagner's grand artistic project practically demands that intellectually-inclined listeners start attaching their various manifestos to various portions of the Ring Cycle's scaffolding, and though Shaw is hardly immune to this pontification, as his lengthy excursions into the history of socialism or racial theorizing demonstrate, he approaches his critical ask with both love and rigor, which is all you can ask for. As he says, "to be devoted to Wagner merely as a dog is devoted to his master, sharing a few elementary ideas, appetites and emotions with him, and, for the rest, reverencing his superiority without understanding it, is no true Wagnerism." I'm not sure you'll be a "perfect" Wagnerite after reading this, but surely you'll appreciate and enjoy it even more.

I read this while I was relistening to the whole Ring Cycle, following some advice to give the 2012 remastered version of the famous 1965 Decca recording by Sir Georg Solti a spin (it was excellent, a worthy companion to the 1953 Furtwängler and the 1970 von Karajan versions I've also heard). I've listened to this enormous beast several times through in my life - watching a televised version on PBS and reading the subtitles to my then-toddler-age brother is one of my earliest musical memories - yet I've always been a bit hazy on many details of the plot since I don't speak German and I'm not in the habit of reading librettos for fun. Shaw's explanation of the windings of the narrative, its inspirations, and its themes are as good as you'll find anywhere, laying out the internal logic of Wagner's vision as well as some of the more curious decisions he made. A full performance of the Ring Cycle is four nights of three or four hours each, which doesn't sound like too much in this era of full-season TV binge-watching marathons, but there's still a lot for the modern aficionado to unpack.

Reading through Shaw's summary while listening to the music, I was struck by what a delicate balancing act Wagner was trying to strike between the legacy of the source material - the Nibelungenlied and the Eddas, but also plenty of his own vaguely period-era invention - and a plot that was firmly about modernity. Shaw finds lots of anti-capitalist ideology in the Ring Cycle (fairly plausibly), but there's a lot to ponder about how humanity is portrayed in The Ring Cycle versus, say, Greek mythological arcs. For all its imposing density and complexity, the Ring Cycle is ultimately about the rising power of humanity against the declining power of the gods, and in the scenes showing the dangerous power of the ring or the cruelty of Alberich's machine workshop you can see the inspiration for countless modern works, not least The Lord of the Rings. The tragedies in the lives of Brünnhilde or Sieglinde, or even Wotan or Alberich, are masterfully conveyed by Wagner's careful plotting and characterization:

"If you are now satisfied that The Rhine Gold is an allegory, do not forget that an allegory is never quite consistent except when it is written by someone without dramatic faculty, in which case it is unreadable. There is only one way of dramatizing an idea; and that is by putting on the stage a human being possessed by that idea, yet none the less a human being with all the human impulses which make him akin and therefore interesting to us. Bunyan, in his Pilgrim's Progress, does not, like his unread imitators, attempt to personify Christianity and Valour: he dramatizes for you the life of the Christian and the Valiant Man. Just so, though I have shown that Wotan is Godhead and Kingship, and Loki Logic and Imagination without living Will (Brain without Heart, to put it vulgarly); yet in the drama Wotan is a religiously moral man, and Loki a witty, ingenious, imaginative and cynical one."

Something I was almost heartened to read was that Wagner sometimes made mistakes. James Joyce once had that line about "A man of genius makes no mistakes; his errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery," but the convolutions of the Ring Cycle are not always as intentional as they seem. For example, Wagner came up with the idea to set the Nibelungenlied and the Eddas to music first and decided to work backwards to add more foundation to the plot from there. So Götterdämmerung came conceptually before Das Rheingold, which explains why certain parts of Götterdämmerung, like the opening scene with the Norns, seem so out of place from a narrative logic perspective. When I was listening to it, I immediately thought of the famous opening scene with the three witches in Macbeth, but whereas Shakespeare's witches are an integral part of the play, Wagner's Norns are not very well-integrated into the rest of the story:

"The very senselessness of the scenes of the Norns and of Valtrauta in relation to the three foregoing dramas, gives them a highly effective air of mystery; and no one ventures to challenge their consequentiality, because we are all more apt to pretend to understand great works of art than to confess that the meaning (if any) has escaped us."

And yet it's somehow comforting that there are those little imperfections, as it makes the grandeur of the whole thing more human, especially in the face of all that music. The music is the most famous aspect of the Ring Cycle, and though I've been listening to it for decades, I am still absolutely transported by songs like "Dawn and Siegfried's Rhine Journey" every time I hear them. To me, even though Wagner's leitmotif system has become commonplace it's never been bettered or even equaled, and as Shaw discusses in his (too brief) musicological sections, that system may not necessarily be "better" music than what Wagner termed "absolute music" like a Bach fugue or a Beethoven symphony, but it works differently than his predecessors' works did: "A Beethoven symphony (except the articulate part of the ninth) expresses noble feeling, but not thought: it has moods, but no ideas. Wagner added thought and produced the music drama." The idea that music could express emotions was not new, of course, but in Wagner's music the idea is expressed very differently; from a musical theory perspective Wagner is working on a whole different level of songwriting:

"There is not a single bar of "classical music" in The Ring - not a note in it that has any other point than the single direct point of giving musical expression to the drama. In classical music there are, as the analytical programs tell us, first subjects and second subjects, free fantasias, recapitulations, and codas; there are fugues, with counter-subjects, strettos, and pedal points; there are passacaglias on ground basses, canons ad hypodiapente, and other ingenuities, which have, after all, stood or fallen by their prettiness as much as the simplest folk-tune. Wagner is never driving at anything of this sort any more than Shakespeare in his plays is driving at such ingenuities of verse-making as sonnets, triolets, and the like."

And Shaw makes a good comparison between the music of that Bach, Beethoven, and Wagner trio:

"After the symphonies of Beethoven it was certain that the poetry that lies too deep for words does not lie too deep for music, and that the vicissitudes of the soul, from the roughest fun to the loftiest aspiration, can make symphonies without the aid of dance tunes. As much, perhaps, will be claimed for the preludes and fugues of Bach; but Bach's method was unattainable: his compositions were wonderful webs of exquisitely beautiful Gothic traceries in sound, quite beyond all ordinary human talent. Beethoven's far blunter craft was thoroughly popular and practicable: not to save his soul could he have drawn one long Gothic line in sound as Bach could, much less have woven several of them together with so apt a harmony...."

Shaw can periodically wander away from the point: for one example, the entire section of "Siegfried as Protestant" starts off quite reasonably as a vaguely Weberian analysis of how the hero's energetic aspects reflect quite real Christian allegories in the Ring Cycle and also something of Wagner's own relationship to the Christian divides in Germany, but then detours into eugenicist musings which sit uncomfortably with the fact that Siegfried is, of course, a product of incest. Much of the discussion of socialist (or at least anti-capitalist) themes is likewise heavily inflected by Shaw's own views, frequently more enlightening as an elucidation of Shaw's politics than Wagner's famously idiosyncratic ones. Yet overall Shaw's explanation of what happens in the Ring Cycle and why it matters is enormously useful, not only revelatory but inspiring. His appreciation for the power of love in the Ring Cycle is a real delight to read, as is his conclusion about the ultimate aim of one of the grandest dramatic works in all of human history:

"The only faith which any reasonable disciple can gain from The Ring is not in love, but in life itself as a tireless power which is continually driving onward and upward - not, please observe, being beckoned or drawn by Das Ewig Weibliche or any other external sentimentality, but growing-from within, by its own inexplicable energy, into ever higher and higher forms of organization, the strengths and the needs of which are continually superseding the institutions which were made to fit our former requirements. When your Bakunins call out for the demolition of all these venerable institutions, there is no need to fly into a panic and lock them up in prison whilst your parliament is bit by bit doing exactly what they advised you to do. When your Siegfrieds melt down the old weapons into new ones, and with disrespectful words chop in twain the antiquated constable's staves in the hands of their elders, the end of the world is no nearer than it was before. If human nature, which is the highest organization of life reached on this planet, is really degenerating, then human society will decay; and no panic-begotten penal measures can possibly save it: we must, like Prometheus, set to work to make new men instead of vainly torturing old ones. On the other hand, if the energy of life is still carrying human nature to higher and higher levels, then the more young people shock their elders and deride and discard their pet institutions the better for the hopes of the world, since the apparent growth of anarchy is only the measure of the rate of improvement. History, as far as we are capable of history (which is not saying much as yet), shows that all changes from crudity of social organization to complexity, and from mechanical agencies in government to living ones, seem anarchic at first sight. No doubt it is natural to a snail to think that any evolution which threatens to do away with shells will result in general death from exposure. Nevertheless, the most elaborately housed beings today are born not only without houses on their backs but without even fur or feathers to clothe them." ( )
  aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
Bernard Shaw loved music. His life included a stint as a published Music Critic for a newspaper, and this is a result of that time. Wagner is a justly famous composer, and though the librettos of the Ring of the Niebulings are not great poetry...the experience of a performance can be exhilarating. Join with Shaw as he tries to define that experience, in the prism of nineteenth century musical culture. Epigrams abound. I read the book in 1966, so, the rest of the entry is for the modern reader. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Jul 11, 2020 |
Excellent survey of the Ring Cycle. Shaw's Marxist approach is by no means controlling. Very useful as a guide. ( )
  annbury | Jun 15, 2012 |
Bernard Shaw

The Perfect Wagnerite
A Commentary on the Niblung's Ring

Dover, Paperback, 1967.

8vo. xxi+136 pp. Reprint of the Fourth Edition (1923). Prefaces by Shaw to the Fourth [vii-xii, 1922], Third [xiii-xv, 1913], Second [xvii-xviii, 1901] and First [xix-xx, 1898] edition.

First published, 1898.
Second edition, 1901.
Third edition, revised*, 1913.
Fourth edition, 1923
Dover edition**, 1967.


Preface to the First Edition
Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the Third Edition
Preface to the Fourth Edition

Preliminary Encouragements
The Niblung’s Ring
The Rhine Gold
- First Scene
- Second Scene
- Third Scene
- Fourth Scene
Wagner as Revolutionist
The Valkyrie
- The First Act
- The Second Act
- The Third Act
- The First Act
- The Second Act
- The Third Act
- Back to Opera Again
Siegfried as Protestant
- Panacea Quackery, Otherwise Idealism
- Dramatic Origin of Wotan
- The Love Panacea
- Not Love, But Life
- Anarchism No Panacea
- Siegfried Concluded
Night Falls on the Gods
- Prologue
- The First Act
- The Second Act
- A Wagnerian Newspaper Controversy
- The Third Act
- Collapse of the Allegory
Why He Changed His Mind
Wagner's Own Explanation
- The Pessimist as Amorist
The Music of the Ring
- The Representative Themes
- The Characterization
The Old and the New Music
The Nineteenth Century
The Music of the Future
- Bayreuth in England
- Wagnerian Singers
- Wagnerism with Wagner Left Out

* As stated by Shaw himself in the preface, the revision consists entirely of the addition of one entirely new chapter - Why he changed his mind - which was written in 1907 for the First German edition of the book.

** The Dover edition, unfortunately, does not contain the completely fascinating Preface to the First German Edition (1907).


I have delayed reading this book for quite some time convinced that it is some sort of socialistic nonsense - just another example that one must not form opinions of books one has never read. For The Perfect Wagnerite by George Bernard Shaw turned out to be not only hugely entertaining, but also extremely stimulating and thought-provoking read. Now I finally understand why this little book (or booklet, as Shaw himself once called it) is taken seriously by serious Wagnerian scholars even more than 100 years after it was first published. I venture to claim that every Wagnerian neophyte really should read it. The only drawback of this wonderful Dover paperback edition is that it does not reprint the Preface to the First German Edition (1907) which contains some true gems about Bernard Shaw and his German socialist colleagues who are inclined to ask inconvenient questions:

They ask "Do you believe that Marx was omniscient and infallible; that Engels was his prophet; that Bebel and Singer are his inspired apostles; and that Das Kapital is the Bible?" Hastening in my innocence to clear myself of what I regard as an accusation of credulity and ignorance, I assure them earnestly that I know ten times as much of economics and a hundred times as much of practical administration as Marx did; that I knew Engels personally and rather liked him as a witty and amiable old 1848 veteran who despised modern Socialism; that I regard Bebel and Singer as men of like passions with myself, but considerably less advanced; and that I read Das Kapital in the year 1882 or thereabouts, and still consider it one of the most important books of the nineteenth century because of its power of changing the minds of those who read it, in spite of its unsound capitalist economics, its parade of quotations from books which the author had either not read or not understood, its affectation of algebraic formulas, and its general attempt to disguise a masterpiece of propagandist journalism and prophetic invective as a drily scientific treatise of the sort that used to impose on people in 1860, when any book that pretended to be scientific was accepted as a Bible.

This must be Bernard Shaw at his best!

He is probably the most conceited, condescending, opinionated, dogmatic, didactic and pugnacious writer I have ever read. He is certainly the only one known to me who regularly insults his readers' intelligence. All the same, Bernard Shaw is a real riot to read. The first and most obvious reason for that is his style: elegant, charming, witty, wicked, amusing, malicious and delicious. It is true that sometimes Shaw is apt to produce words for their own sake and sometimes he gets a bit carried away with the exquisite structure of his sentences, but neither seems to matter when one reads him slowly and at leisure. No matter how brutally he treats his readers - bluntly telling them that they are incapable of grasping the grandeur of Wagner's tetralogy and that's why he, The Perfect Wagnerite, will guide them with this little book - one simply can't be angry with him; at least I certainly cannot do such a thing. Apart from the graceful elegance of his inimitable style and, considering that, his remarkable lucidity that almost never fails him, I think what most fascinates me about Bernard Shaw is his astonishing honesty. Whatever he is, however strong and unsound his opinions might sometimes look like, he surely is no humbug. Nor is he a poser who tries cheap tricks to catch your attention. His candour, indeed, is equally applied to his readers and to great composers as to himself. Now, that is not something one finds very often, and it is a truly compelling phenomenon.

But style and candour, captivating as they are, mean nothing if an author has nothing interesting to say. Here is the bottom line: Bernard Shaw has tons of fascinating points and subtle insights to offer. His socialistic interpretation of Wagner's works, Das Rheingold in particular, has often been dismissed with an ironic smile, mostly by conceited fools who never actually read the book - like myself in not too distant a past. As it turned out, Shaw's socialistic concept is far from some naive ranting; indeed, if anything, it is very well constructed and even better provided with thought-provoking reflections. What is more, Bernard Shaw does not limit himself to one concept at all. He goes far deeper into the dark Wagnerian waters fearing neither sharks, nor drowning. Behind his hilarious re-telling of the synopses of the four music dramas that can well make one rolling with laughter, there is a powerful mind that offers a point of view characterized with stunning originality and remarkable completeness. Even about the music and the characterization in The Ring, or its place in the history, matters to which a very limited space is dedicated, Shaw often has something fascinating to say that is not to be dismissed lightly. As a kind of additional bonus, he writes more or less as contemporary of Wagner and is not influenced by any classical status of the composer, much less goofy adulation that more often than not was then, and still is today, characteristic feature of non-perfect Wagnerites. Or to put it in Shaw's blunt way:

Now to be devoted to Wagner merely as a dog is devoted to his master, sharing a few elementary ideas, appetites and emotions with him, and, for the rest, reverencing his superiority without understanding it, is no true Wagnerism.

Whether one agrees or not with Bernard Shaw's opinions is of no consequence whatsoever. One simply cannot ignore them - nor him. I doubt anybody who cares about Wagner's works could do such a thing - or wanted to. I suppose that is one of the surest signs of genius there is.

Though being a genius beyond any reasonable doubt, Bernard Shaw is by far not immune to writing nonsense. Strangely, it doesn't seem to matter a bit. On the one hand, seldom does he do so, and on the other hand, it makes a pleasant contrast with all that profoundness around it. Certainly the least defensible part of The Perfect Wagnerite is Bernard Shaw's criticism of Götterdämmerung (today translated as ''Twilight of the Gods'', but Shaw uses different translation: ''Night Falls On The Gods''). His describing the final part of The Ring as ''thorough grand opera'' is very wide of the mark indeed. His only argument seems to be that there is a chorus in it, and such thing should not be there according to the theoretical concepts of the music drama formulated by Wagner himself. Of course there is a chorus in Götterdämmerung, but it is only one, male, perfectly incorporated into the action and, last but not least, the whole scene is dominated not by the chorus but by the dark bass of Hagen. Having crossed the nonsense border, Shaw goes even further to surpass himself by making comparisons with choruses from Donizetti's operas.

Another caveat about Bernard Shaw's writing is that he is sometimes inclined to criticise great composers from the nineteenth century in a way that is just a little short of blatant and odious. I surmise the ardent admirers of Johannes Brahms are in for an unpleasant surprise; so, for that matter, are the Wagnerites lost in adulation of their music idol. Yet, even in his most absurd or most brutal passages not only is Shaw no less amusing or charming, but he continues to stimulate quite a hurricane in the minds of those who read him. (It should perhaps be added that even about Götterdämmerung Shaw was not entirely in the realms of fantasy after all, for the last part of The Ring is surely the most operatic one, the one farthest from the stringency of the music drama and, perhaps, the weakest one in terms of philosophical depth.)

In conclusion, one little piece of advice to the future readers of The Perfect Wagnerite: make yourselves familiar with the dramatis personae and the story of the four music dramas that comprise The Ring before start the book. Of course it is supposed to be an introduction for beginners in the field, and it probably is, but not for perfect beginners. Should you know nothing of Wagner's plots and characters, it is still possible to understand every word by Shaw of course; but a solid, if far from deep, knowledge of the matter will surely increase a great deal the enjoyment of the book. Indeed, if you have no idea what The Ring is, you may well find a good many pages to be something very much like perfect nonsense. But if you have a good background and have listened to the Wagner's works in question, you may well be astonished how even the most far-fetched, at first glance, of Shaw's reflections actually make a perfect sense and stimulate unheard-of thoughts in your own head. As for readers who think that their technical ignorance of music would be of any harm, no one ever said it better that Shaw himself:

They may dismiss all such misgivings speedily and confidently. If the sound of music has any power to move them, they will find that Wagner exacts nothing further.

Frankly, I do envy all those people who are going to read The Perfect Wagnerite by George Bernard Shaw for the very first time. It is quite an adventure.


Afterthoughts, January 2011.

Having just sampled heavily Bernard Shaw's music criticism on various composers and works, I thought I might re-read The Perfect Wagnerite for the sheer pleasure of it. I have found it exactly as I had the first time I read it: fresh, entertaining and enlightening. What follow are few desultory remarks on the prefaces and one particular chapter which I consider worth mentioning.

The most interesting among the prefaces is the one to the Third edition, because it is the only one that deals with a significant change in the original text, namely the addition of the chapter ''Why he changed his mind'' which was written as early as 1907 for the First German edition of the book. The first paragraph (but not the others, alas) of the preface for the Third edition is very similar to the one in the preface written especially for the First German edition indeed, and it is certainly worth quoting for nobody explains Shaw better that he explains himself:

In 1907 The Pefect Wagnerite was translated into German by my friend Siegfried Trebitsch. On reading through his version in manuscript I was struck by the inadequacy of the merely negative explanation given by me of the irrelevance of Night Falls on the Gods (Die Götterdämmerung) to the general philosophic scheme of The Ring. That explanation was correct as far as it went; but, put as I had put it, it seemed to me to suggest that the operatic character of Night Falls on the Gods was the result of indifference or forgetfulness produced by the lapse of twenty-five years between the first projection of the The Ring and its completion. Now it is clear that in whatever other ways Wagner may have changed, he never became careless and never became indifferent. I therefore inserted in the first German edition a new section in which I shewed how the revolutionary history of Western Europe from the Liberal explosion of 1848 to the confused attempt at a popular and quasi Socialist military and municipal administration by the Commune of Paris in 1871 (that is to say, from the literary beginning of The Niblung's Ring by Wagner to the long delayed musical completion of Night Falls on the Gods) had demonstrated practically that the passing away of the present capitalistic order was going to be a much more complicated business than it appears in Wagner's dramatization.

I think Bernard Shaw is completely missing the point as regards the last part The Ring, but as usual he is doing so spectacularly well. In his additional chapter - ''Why he changed his mind'' - he makes a compelling case how Wagner might have been compelled by the political history of Europe to make a radical change in his initial plans. The explanation is thoroughly convincing and quite plausible, not to say terribly amusing as well: Siegfried never came, but Bismarck did; Alberich, on the other hand, had been accepted into the best families of Walhalla, etc. The fault in Shaw's argument, I submit, lies in the very assumption that Wagner ever had any intention of making political allegory out of The Ring; so far as I know, the only proof that exists about such notion of his in Shaw's strong conviction. But I think that Wagner never really took politics very seriously, and even if he did he must have been greatly disillusioned after the violent events of May 1849 and his ignominious exile that followed immediately afterwards. Shaw was well aware that the complete text of The Ring was privately printed by 1853 but, interestingly, he seemed never to have attached any importance to the singular fact that nearly four years passed between Wagner's failure as revolutionary and his completion of the text (not to mention that the crucial final scene of the last part was rewritten several times later). I am rather more inclined to believe that Wagner had from the very beginning a much bigger fish to fry with The Ring than mere political allegory, even if this was not entirely out of his mind which I honestly doubt. This ''bigger fish'' has been extensively discussed by many Wagnerian commentators such as Barry Millington, Bryan Magee and, most perceptively, Deryck Cooke. ( )
3 ääni Waldstein | Mar 2, 2010 |
näyttää 4/4
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» Lisää muita tekijöitä (11 mahdollista)

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Shaw, George BernardTekijäensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Beardsley, AubreyKansikuvataiteilijamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Gillon, EdmundKannen suunnittelijamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Sinun täytyy kirjautua sisään voidaksesi muokata Yhteistä tietoa
Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
Kanoninen teoksen nimi
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Alkuteoksen nimi
Teoksen muut nimet
Alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi
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Tärkeät paikat
Tärkeät tapahtumat
Kirjaan liittyvät elokuvat
Palkinnot ja kunnianosoitukset
Epigrafi (motto tai mietelause kirjan alussa)
Ensimmäiset sanat
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Preface to the First German Edition

In reading through this German version of my book in the Manuscript of my friend Siegfried Trebitsch, I was struck by the inadequacy of the merely negative explanation given by me of the irrelevance of Night Falls On The Gods to the general philosophic scheme of The Ring.

The preparation of a Second Edition of this booklet is quite the most unexpected literary task that has ever been set me.
Preface to the First Edition

This book is a commentary on The Ring of the Niblungs, Wagner's chief work.

A few of these will be welcome to the ordinary citizen visiting the theatre to satisfy his curiosity, or his desire to be in the fashion, by witnessing a representation of Richard Wagner's famous Ring of the Niblungs.

The Ring consists of four plays, intended to be performed on four successive evenings, entitled The Rhine Gold (a prologue to the other three), The Valkyries, Siegfried, and Night Falls On The Gods; or, in the original German, Das Rheingold, Die Walkure, Siegfried, and Die Gotterdammerung.
Viimeiset sanat
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(Napsauta nähdäksesi. Varoitus: voi sisältää juonipaljastuksia)
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Alkuteoksen kieli
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Kanoninen DDC/MDS
Kanoninen LCC

Viittaukset tähän teokseen muissa lähteissä.

Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (1)

As a commentator on music and music critics, Bernard Shaw was experienced and knowledgeable, strongly opinionated, and, as in all his writing, unsurpassed for brilliance and wit. The reader will find that this commentary on the cycle of four Wagner operas known as "The Ring" contains all these characteristics: it is enlightening and provocative, and it makes very entertaining reading. Shaw was firm Wagner partisan, and in the book he enthusiastically endorses the operas and Wagner's music in general. Particularly interested in the philosophic and social ideology behind the Ring operas, he also discusses Wagner's life, the character of music drama as opposed to grand opera, the role of the Leitmotif in unifying the cycle and delineating character, the character of Siegfried, and many other related questions. As with all of Shaw's work, even if the reader disagrees with much of it, he will still find the analysis full of stimulating ideas and valuable insights, and written throughout with rare liveliness and wit.

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