Category: Richard Wagner

  • The Valkyries

    The stirring “Ride of the Valykyries” opens Act III of Wagner’s opera Die Walküre. Eight of the nine Valkyries, the warrior daughters of Wotan, ride their horses onto the battlefield to gather up the dead heroes and take them to Valhalla, the home of the gods. They await their sister Brünnhilde, who arrives with Sieglinde […]

  • Romantic Frenemies

    The conflict between Brahms and his posse, and Wagner and his, resulted in a “manifesto” written by Brahms and published in the Berliner Musik-Zeitung Echo in 1860: The undersigned have long followed with regret the proceedings of a certain party whose organ is Brendel’s Zeitschrift für Musik. The said Zeitschrift unceasingly promulgates the theory that the most […]

  • The Hobgoblin of Little Minds

    A hobgoblin is, in European folklore, a spirit of the hearth or fireside (the “hob”). Hobgoblins are considered meddlesome and mischievous beings. In the universe of Marvel Comics, the Hobgoblin is one of Spiderman’s nemeses. In his well-known 1841 essay “Self-Reliance,” the American transcendentalist philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson stated that “A foolish consistency is the […]

  • Rebirth of a Nation

    [Content warning for disturbing, racist, and violent film imagery.] As we’ve discussed, the way that music and image interact can change, enhance, or even contradict the meaning of both the music and of the image. We are all familiar with the ability of image to define, revise, and re-write not only past history, but even […]

  • Can A White Girl Sing Selena?

    April 16 is a state holiday in Texas: Selena Day. Who was Selena? Selena was, is, and, were I to guess, will remain for eternity the most beloved female of all time in the Latino community. (Second place is the Virgin Mary, if you’re looking for context.) . . . She looked like (a more attractive […]

  • The Problem with Wagner

    As you will recall, Robert Schumann founded and edited the influential music magazine Die Neue Zeitschrift für Musik.  In 1850, the Neue Zeitschrift published an essay by a pseudonymous author called “Das Judentum in der Music” (Jewishness in Music), which alleged that Jews, being not only culturally and religiously different, but also biologically — that is, racially — different from gentile Germans, […]

  • The Waiting is the Hardest Part

    The legend of Dr. Faust — a scholar dissatisfied with his life, who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for renewed youth, strength, and vigor — is an ancient one. The first literary adaptations of the Faust legend began to appear in the sixteenth century, and every age since has reinterpreted the story […]