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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Das Rheingold

Wagnerites will be a bit miffed that I missed His Majesty's birthday yesterday, so here it is - Happy Birthday Richard! One of the most unpleasant human beings that ever lived, he scammed, he cheated, he lied, and someone really no different from a madman you'd lock up in an asylum, Wagner had the gift of music, and the gift of a single loyal friend in Franz Liszt. The more than 300 letters they exchanged in their lifetimes make absorbing reading, and can be found at the Project Gutenberg site, translated into English, of course.

The site I want to point out to you right now, though, is the Vocal and Piano score of Das Rheingold. Wagner's magnum opus is the Ring Cycle, and the work was conceived as a piece, and is intended to be consumed that way. Das Rheingold is the first of the 4 operas, and serves as a Prelude and Tone-Setter for the whole Epic. A bit smaller, and a little less daunting than Die Walkure, Siegfreid, and Gotterdammerung, get your head into the Ring here.