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Subject: Re: Parsifal
From: Stephen Charitan <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Stephen Charitan <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 27 Jan 2017 09:41:12 -0500
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Nick,

I think the point I was trying to make is that the more familiar you become
with Parsifal and Tristan the less important the words and physical
settings become.  I think Wagner's "metaphysical" side was very much a
moving target encompassing - among others - Schopenhauer, Buddhism, all
types of world myth - Christian, Germanic as well as Classical.   Was
he already "practicing" psychiatry in his music before Freud and Jung?   In
other words he was able to synthesize something bigger, and thus unique
from all the components he (often inconsistently) drew from.  If you are
someone who is able to respond to his music you begin to meld those
metaphysical inconsistencies into something uniquely your own.  This is
what separates Wagner - *in these two works *- from virtually every other
"opera" composer.

The Ring, Meistersinger, and the rest of the mature works have many
metaphysical components, but they are also very dependent on the narrative
/ text to which they are grounded.  For example, I would never recommend
anyone going to "The Ring" without a working knowledge of the story -
especially with so much of the current regie fighting or ignoring the
libretti.

If as one poster suggested - ignoring the text is like turning Wagner into
elevator music - then in Tristan and Parsifal it is elevator music to the
stars!

Steve

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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