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The Ring of the Nibelung
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cried, ‘it does me more harm than good. I need an audience that understands none of all this and that doesn’t adopt a critical response. The people I like best are those who don’t even know that we write music on five lines.” [859W-{2/9/76} Reminiscences by Hermann Ritter of a visit to Wagner on 2/9/76: WR, p. 240]

 

[860W-{5/30/76} CD Vol. I, p. 909]

[P. 909] {FEUER} “After lunch R. reflects on whether, in ‘Das Rheingold,’ he should not make Wotan, as he greets Valhalla (‘So nenne ich die Burg’), flourish a sword, which Fafner has contemptuously thrown out of the Nibelung hoard because it is not made of gold. This becomes the sword which Wotan plunges into the ash tree; Alberich has had it forged for his fight against the giants and the gods.” [860W-{5/30/76} CD Vol. I, p. 909]

 

[861W-{6-8/76} WRR, p. 4]

[P. 4] “Fully to understand his achievement … one must realize that what he was striving to convey was the essence of the nature of the world, the essence underlying external realities perceived by the senses.” [861W-{6-8/76} WRR, p. 4]

 

[862W-{6-8/76} WRR, p. 7-8]

[P. 7] {FEUER} “Regarding the orchestral prelude [to The Rhinegold] as a whole, built on a single E flat major triad, Wagner insisted that its huge crescendo should throughout create the impression of a phenomenon of nature developing quite of its own accord – so to say, an impersonal impression. Nothing must be forced; there must be no sense of a conscious purpose imposing itself. Thus the goal will be achieved. It will be as though we were experiencing the magical effects of an ideal presence; as though, no [P. 8] longer conscious of the music, we had become immersed in the primal feelings of all living things and were peering directly into the inner workings of natural forces.” [862W-{6-8/76} WRR, p. 7-8]

 

[863W-{6-8/76} WRR, p. 9-10]

[P. 9] {FEUER} “The passage indicating most clearly how Alberich should be characterized is his lament after Flosshilde has deceived him so humiliatingly: [P. 10] ‘Wehe! Ach wehe! O Schmerz! O Schmerz! Die dritte so traut, betrog sie mich auch!’ The genuineness of the outburst could easily lead the singer to endow it with a quality of noble pathos; but here, and in every other such passage revealing the core of Alberich’s mentality, the revelation should be that of an uncontrollable yet base and common greed. This is the fundamental trait of this child of the night, half animal, half sprite.” [863W-{6-8/76} WRR, p. 9-10]

 

[864W-{6-8/76} WRR, p. 21]

[P. 21] {FEUER} Wagner was particularly anxious that the tone of irony, which conceals Loge’s true nature, should contain no trace of affectation or mannerism. For it is he who embodies the bad conscience of the world of the gods presented to us in all its glitter and glory.” [864W-{6-8/76} WRR, p. 21]

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