Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for The Ring Cycle

Revisiting “The Music of Richard Wagner”

In honor of Richard Wagner’s 200th birthday (which falls on May 22), and in anticipation of my upcoming trip to Berlin to hear the Berlin Staatsoper and Daniel Barenboim perform The Ring (about which I will blog endlessly once on site), I offer a twelve minute introduction/teaser on the Ring Cycle drawn from Lecture 17 of my Great Courses survey, “The Music of Richard Wagner”. Say what you want about Wagner – certainly, everybody else has – the man was a hellaciously great composer with a vision unique in the history of Western music. Any way you look at it, Wagner’s four evening extravaganza that is The Ring is the single most audacious creative accomplishment since the Creation itself, which, as Wagner would have happily pointed out, took six days to carry off. Many of us would deny ourselves the revelatory experience of Wagner’s art due to bladder-busting length of his works and the fact that he was, by pretty much every estimation, an awful person. Yes, Richard Wagner was capable of being a repulsive, sometimes even hateful human being. As was Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and John Belushi. Does that mean we must deny ourselves the pleasures of the […]

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