A+ a-
Wagnerheim Logo
Wagnerheim Bookmark System
The Ring of the Nibelung
Go back a page
94
Go forward a page

To this Tanner retorts: “The trouble with that highly plausible-sounding suggestion is that no one has succeeded in developing it any further, no doubt because to do so would involve independent research of a kind that musicologists are unwilling or unable to undertake … .” [Tanner: P. 4-5]

This study's solution

The Wound that Will Never Heal picks up the threads of debate where the major studies of the past dropped them, from an entirely new perspective. It is the first attempt since Deryck Cooke’s passing to provide a comprehensive conceptual interpretation of Wagner’s Ring (and his other canonical operas and music-dramas) which includes a complete assessment of its dramatic poem and music. It explores Wagner’s musico-dramatic meaning in a way intended to illustrate his remark to Mathilde Wesendonck that “… there never was another man who was poet and musician at once in my sense, and therefore to whom an insight into inner processes has become possible such as could be expected of no other.” [665W – {12/8/58} RWLMW; p. 78] Wagner seems to have recognized that his unique artistic insight into unconscious processes might have unforeseen, troubling consequences. As Cosima recorded in her diary : “… he [Wagner] says that he sometimes has the feeling that art is downright dangerous – it is as if in this great enjoyment of observing he is perhaps failing to recognize the presence of some hidden sorrow.” [753W – {7/27/69} CD Vol. I; p. 130] This study will examine this question in considerable depth in order to demonstrate that Wagner’s notion that he was uniquely capable of accessing heretofore unconscious (and potentially dangerous) knowledge, and therefore at risk of unwittingly revealing it to his audience (and perhaps even to himself), may provide the key to a coherent, unified understanding of the entire Ring, and even several of Wagner’s other canonical artworks, including not only the mature music-dramas but his last three romantic operas.

Most Wagner scholars of both the past and present, including George Bernard Shaw [Shaw: P. 76-78], Cooke [Cooke: P. 247], Tanner [Tanner: P. 182], and Jean-Jacques Nattiez [Nattiez: P. 275; P. 286; P. 299-300], have assumed that the Ring has no global meaning which will allow us to grasp it as a whole on one level. A primary task of this study is to demonstrate that though such writers have made very important contributions to our knowledge of this subject, some of which have been incorporated into this study, it is possible to propose an alternative interpretation which may grant us a depth of insight into the Ring’s conceptual unity, and into its status as the conceptual framework for Wagner’s other repertory operas and music-dramas, which was previously largely unsuspected.

To initiate you, the reader, into my novel - and perhaps sometimes counter-intuitive - reading of the Ring, I can provide no better introduction than a brief account of the history of my development of this research project, from its inception in the summer of 1971 to the present (5/09). In this way I can introduce the essential insights which distinguish my study from all others.

A brief history of my book The Wound That Will Never Heal

By age eighteen the only thing I knew about Richard Wagner was what everybody else knows: the wedding march “Here comes the bride” from Lohengrin, and “The Ride of the Valkyries,” the famous passage from Wagner’s Ring. Of Lohengrin and the Ring, as works for the theater, I knew nothing. One hot summer evening, my parents were out of town (Annapolis, Maryland), and one of our two

Go back a page
94
Go forward a page
© 2011 Paul Heise. All rights reserved. Website by Mindvision.