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Subject: Re: Parsifal
From: donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 26 Jan 2017 20:57:28 -0500
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Long before complete recordings of PARSIFAL existed, and while, as
a teenager, I was enthralled by the sound of any and all examples of
Wagner's music that came my way, I first heard the Lauritz Melchior
Victor recordings of "Amfortas, die Wunde!", and "Nur eine Waffe taugt".
I was not satisfied to merely luxuriate in their sonic splendor, I had to
know what they were about.  As the composer himself had said: effects
without causes are worthless.  It often seems that some opera lovers
are able to absorb long stretches of deeply emotional and dramatically
urgent
musical works as if they were nothing more than elevator music or the
soundtrack to a wildlife documentary.  I mustn't criticize, but
neither will I say that I endorse their satisfaction.   But those two
selections by the great
tenor,  together with the sublime Good Friday Music, even in it's voiceless
renditions,  demonstrated to me how inextricably dependent the full
glory of PARSIFAL is on familiarity and, if possible, even a degree of
empathy, with the religious or, if you prefer, mythic references that
motivated Wagner.

dtmk




On Thu, Jan 26, 2017 at 4:22 PM, Anthony Perovich <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> On Thu, Jan 26, 2017 at 2:36 PM, Stephen Charitan <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
> In Parsifal and Tristan it might be advisable
>> to have a general idea of plot points, but this is some of the most
>> subjective / suggestive music ever written.  The more familiarity you have
>> with it the more you will find in it and the less necessary "trappings"
>> become. There aren't many works where the words themselves can cease to
>> matter, but in these two word for word translations can often detract and
>> even diminish.
>>
>
> I would like to hear what others think of this claim.  I certainly
> understand and agree with the idea that the music is itself suggestive and
> can have an effect independently of the listener's understanding of the
> words being sung.  And who can quarrel with someone's being transported or
> transformed by the music alone, if that is what they're after or what they
> find rewarding?  But I would have thought that it is also correct to say
> that Wagner was a "metaphysical" composer in the sense that in several of
> his works, perhaps above all in TRISTAN and PARSIFAL, he was aiming to
> convey a world-view, and very often the text is a helpful guide here and a
> crucial supplement to the music.  Now, of course, someone can be
> uninterested in this and find that the music alone offers its own rewards.
> But for anyone interested in appreciating what Wagner was aiming at, I
> would have thought it is often the case that attention to the text (beyond
> mere "plot points") in conjunction with the music is demanded.  Now of
> course what detracts from or diminishes one's listening experience is going
> to vary from listener to listener, and it's foolish to be prescriptive
> about how people should listen to music; but it nevertheless seems to me
> that there is one non-idiosyncratic way of listening to Wagner--a way that
> Wagner himself would have found very important--that makes attention to the
> text essential.
>
> Nick
>
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