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Subject: Der Ring and background studies
From: "M. Rommel" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Mon, 30 Mar 2009 13:37:53 -0700

text/plain (53 lines)

--- On Tue, 3/31/09, Ron Magnuson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
On Mar 30, 2009, at 2:20 AM, A.C. Douglas wrote:

> As I noted in my linked S&F piece on the Porges book, the English
> (by Robert L. Jacobs) was published in 1983 by Cambridge University Press
> under the title, _Wagner Rehearsing the Ring_, but which translation is,
> unhappily, now long out of print (or was at last check in 2004).

I just ordered the paperback from for $30.00.

Ron Magnuson
This is an invaluable book to have, but as A. C. Douglas has rightly pointed out it is not in any sense a prescriptive 'manual'. As Curt von Westernhagen points out in the 'Translator's Preface':
The distinguishing characteristic [of Porges' account] is his ability always to locate the endless detail of Wagner's individual instructions . . . in a over-all intellectual context.
For many the Ring need not be analysed or researched: that would merely be a dry academic exercise, and therefore Porges is not necessary. For those who approach the Ring in this way, it is a raw, visceral, emotional experience that combines the grosteque with the sublime and the ecstatic, the primitive and elemental with the spiritual. And this is good. 
Those, however, who find the context Porges provides intellectually stimulating may also want to consult Curt von Westernhagen's The Forging of the Ring: Richard Wagner' Composition Sketches for Der Ring des Nibelungen. Von Westernhagen's work is the first systemic study of Wagner's composition sketches. It is vastly fascinating text. 
Serious students of the Ring can not go without consulting Wagner in Rehearsal 1875-1876: The Diaries of Richard Fricke. Wagner hired Fricke as Buehnenmeister and Hilfsregisseur (stage director). The Diaries provide keen insights into the Ring production. The Dairies are published in the Franz Liszt Study Series by Pendragon Press. 
One more background source is Wagner in Performance edited by Millington and Spencer and published by Yale. Of particular note are Ch.1 'Conducting Wagner: The Search for Melos'; Ch. 2 'Wagner and his Singers'; Ch. 4 Designing Wagner: Deeds of Music Made Visible'; and most especially Ch. 5 ' "Fidelity" to Wagner: Reflections on the Centenary Ring'.
Even with these scholarly tomes on our laps and on our shelves and their ideas in our minds, nothing, nothing can ever explain the sublimity of the opening 70 bars of Das 


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