Athena Sings: Wagner and the Greeks by M. Owen Lee

By M. Owen Lee

Richard Wagner's wisdom of and fervour for Greek drama was once so profound that for Friedrich Nietzsche, Wagner was once Aeschylus come alive back. strangely little has been written concerning the pervasive impact of classical Greece at the quintessentially German grasp. during this based and masterfully argued publication, well known opera critic Father Owen Lee describes for the modern reader what it may well were wish to witness a dramatic functionality of Aeschylus within the theatre of Dionysus in Athens within the 5th century B.C. - whatever that Wagner himself undertook to do on a number of events, imagining a functionality of The Oresteia in his brain, studying it aloud to his pals, offering his personal remark, and referring to the Greek vintage drama to his personal romantic view.

Father Lee additionally makes use of Wagner's writings on Greece and entries from his wife's diaries to forged new gentle on Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger, Parsifal, and particularly the effective Ring cycle, the place Wagner made wide use of Greek parts to offer structural harmony and dramatic credibility to his Nordic and Germanic myths. No opera fan, argues Father Lee, can relatively comprehend Wagner saving Brünhilde with no figuring out the Athena who, in Greek drama, first introduced justice to Athens.

Written with a readability and intensity of data that experience characterised all Father Lee's books at the classics of Greece and Rome and made his six different volumes of opera bestsellers, Athena Sings strains the profound effect - a power few tune fans are conscious of - that Greek theatre and tradition had at the so much German of composers and his progressive musical dramas.

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Extra resources for Athena Sings: Wagner and the Greeks

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In other places, they are talking, as the crowd in a theatre always will, about the music and the dancing, the performances of the three versatile actors, the costumes and the production values. Athena Sings 43 Some of the audience may have begun to drift away, but most of us return to our places. Before we break for lunch, Aeschylus gives us the traditional satyr play. All the weighty problems he's posed for us we can ponder later. Just now, he presents us with a little light music and dance, perhaps even with a prank or two, and a pratfall.

That is surely one reason why Aeschylus wrote in trilogies. In the course of the first play, we wonder, through evil upon evil. In the second, we come near to despair. But in the third, the goodness of a personal god, and the justice of his providential plan, comes clear. If we suffer, it is so that we may learn and grow. The chorus in the Agamemnon finds its answer in Zeus, who guided men to think, who has laid it down that wisdom comes alone through suffering. 30 Athena Sings: Wagner and the Greeks 'That,' it will be objected, 'is hardly Wagner.

Let nothing at all cause you pain. Life lasts but a little. Time will take away everything in the end. We have no way of knowing whether that melody should be rendered piano or forte, allegro or adagio, diaton- 50 Athena Sings: Wagner and the Greeks ically, chromatically, or enharmonically - the three modal styles of ancient Greek music. When sung piano, adagio, and - as is the mode used in music today - diatonically,4 the tune comes out mournful and memorable. ' Seikilos has survived the person, perhaps the wife, who bids him live radiantly through the rest of the life that remains to him.

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