A Companion to Wagner's Parsifal (Studies in German by William Kinderman, Katherine R. Syer

By William Kinderman, Katherine R. Syer

Richard Wagner's Parsifal is still an inexhaustible but hugely arguable paintings. This "stage consecration competition play," because the composer defined it, represents the end result of his efforts to carry medieval delusion and smooth tune jointly in a dynamic dating. Wagner's engagement with religion--Buddhist in addition to Christian--reaches a climax right here, as he seeks via creative capability "to rescue the essence of faith by means of perceiving its legendary symbols . . . in line with their figurative price, permitting us to work out their profound, hidden fact via idealized representation." The participants to this assortment holiday clean floor in exploring the textual content, the tune, and the reception background of Parsifal. Wagner's borrowings-and departures-from the medieval resources of the Grail legend, Wolfram's Parzival and Chrétien's Perceval, are thought of intimately, and the tensional relation of the paintings to Christianity is probed. New views emerge that endure at the lengthy genesis of the textual content and track, its affinities to Wagner's prior works, rather Tristan und Isolde, and the fitting approach within which the track used to be composed. Essays deal with the work's daring, modernistic musical language and its unheard of soundscape related to hidden choruses and different unseen resources of sound. The turbulent, marvelous, and infrequently worrying historical past of Parsifal performances from 1882 till 2004 is traced in brilliant aspect for the 1st time, demonstrating the abiding fascination exerted via this uniquely difficult murals.

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THE LITERARY BACKGROUND OF PARSIFAL 37 Parzival’s development is not complete once he has reached the Arthurian realm; he must also attain the Grail. The Arthurian knights represent the world of chivalry; Trevrizent teaches Parzival about God, and Wolfram’s ideal type of chivalric existence is indeed the knight of God. The Grail requires humility and sacrifice, service of God. For Wolfram, God was the means to love and redemption. With the pieces that he extracted from Wolfram’s romance, Wagner would make even more radical alterations to these basic medieval elements and structures.

He disregards the happiness of domestic peace and sees the glaciers — his fate — before him. He disregards the warning of the old man’s wisdom and all the fascinations of woman’s love. ” The monks of St. Bernard are the representatives of religious forms and ceremonies, and with their oft-repeated prayer mingles the sound of his voice, telling them there is something higher than forms and ceremonies. 51 49 See in this regard Arthur W. Marget’s article “Liszt and Parsifal,” Music Review 14 (1953): 107–24, especially 108 and note 8.

Bernard are the representatives of religious forms and ceremonies, and with their oft-repeated prayer mingles the sound of his voice, telling them there is something higher than forms and ceremonies. 51 49 See in this regard Arthur W. Marget’s article “Liszt and Parsifal,” Music Review 14 (1953): 107–24, especially 108 and note 8. There is a reference in Cosima Wagner’s diary from December 28, 1877 to the effect that Wagner “sah noch die ‘Glocken v. Strassburg’ des Vaters sich an, um zu sehen, ob er kein ‘Plagiat’ begeht” (looked again at father’s “Glocken v.

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