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Thread: Religion in Wagner's Parsifal: Christian opera, Buddhist opera, both, or neither?

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacck View Post
    I am no expert on Christianity, but as far as I can remember, Jesus never talked about any of this in any of his speeches (if he did, the quote it). All this hierarchical church baggage was created after his death, including the barring of women from participating in the church. The church was corrupt from the beginning, and from the beginning has banned some "gospels". ALL POWER IS CORRUPT. I cannot stress this enough and Jesus would no doubt agree with this. The Romans became decadent, corrupt and brutal, so the message of compassion and caring for the poor gained a lot of support. The Romans first tried to supress it, but then they realized that it cannot be supressed, so they coopted it. And since then the Church gained power and competed for power with kings and rulers, but it was already hopelessly corrupt. In fact, one of the first reformation movements against the corruption of the Church was started in my country.
    Please allow a little correction. Jesus did say, ‘I will build my church (congregation)’ and told his followers to go into the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He appointed 12 to be apostles To be with him and to begin his mission in Israel. Later on of course the apostles lead the fledgling church. The fact that the first witnesses of the resurrection recorded in the gospels are all women should give lie of the fact that they were not allowed to participate. Also the fact that they were also present in the upper room when the disciples receive the holy spirit. You are very misinformed that the church was corrupt from the beginning - you need to read the acts of the apostles to actually get the eyewitnesses account of it. Of course it wasn’t perfect because we are dealing with human beings who are imperfect. The Romans didn’t become decadent corrupt and brutal - the fact is they were decadent corrupt and brutal already. The early church’s message came as a total revolutionary challenge to their society. Yes we know later on corruption came into the church as it was politicised but we are talking now about the very beginning of the church when it was a persecuted minority which gradually conquered the Roman Empire. Unfortunately Christianity then became Christendom and of course corruption and misinformation came in. We see this legendary misinformation adapted by Wagner in Parsifal. Same with things like The Da Vinci Code. It’s OK as long as it is regarded as what it is - fiction.
    But I say the church was totally corrupt is a misnomer because there were always people trying to reform it and get it back to what it should be. It is the simplicity of Jesus’ teaching and the early church’s message that Christianity should be measured by. But this thread is about Wagner not a discussion about theology so leave it there.
    Last edited by DavidA; Feb-12-2020 at 17:41.

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    Senior Member Luchesi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Please allow a little correction. Jesus did say, ‘I will build my church (congregation)’ and told his followers to go into the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He appointed 12 to be apostles To be with him and to begin his mission in Israel. Later on of course the apostles lead the fledgling church. The fact that the first witnesses of the resurrection recorded in the gospels are all women should give lie of the fact that they were not allowed to participate. Also the fact that they were also present in the upper room when the disciples receive the holy spirit. You are very misinformed that the church was corrupt from the beginning - you need to read the acts of the apostles to actually get the eyewitnesses account of it. Of course it wasn’t perfect because we are dealing with human beings who are imperfect. The Romans didn’t become decadent corrupt and brutal - the fact is they were decadent corrupt and brutal already. The early church’s message came as a total revolutionary challenge to their society. Yes we know later on corruption came into the church as it was politicised but we are talking now about the very beginning of the church when it was a persecuted minority which gradually conquered the Roman Empire. Unfortunately Christianity then became Christendom and of course corruption and misinformation came in. We see this legendary misinformation adapted by Wagner in Parsifal. Same with things like The Da Vinci Code. It’s OK as long as it is regarded as what it is - fiction.
    But I say the church was totally corrupt is a misnomer because there were always people trying to reform it and get it back to what it should be. It is the simplicity of Jesus’ teaching and the early church’s message that Christianity should be measured by. But this thread is about Wagner not a discussion about theology so leave it there.
    There's probably recent interpretations about "the simplicity of Jesus’ teaching". But if you just read his ideas about dropping everything and following him, and forsaking your family and not caring about worldly concerns about your future, I think it needs a modern interpretation involving metaphors.

    Parsifal probably has gaps like this too.
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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    The myths about Mary Magdelene have no place in the New Testament but are later fictional Gnostic additions and even crop up in the fictitious Kundry figure in Parsifal. Amazing as so little is actually known about her.
    The character of Kundry in Parsifal suggests Mary Magdalene in a couple of ways. Mary is described in the Gospels as having been healed of demonic possession by Jesus, which may be reflected in Parsifal's freeing of Kundry from Klingsor's power over her. The Roman Church, probably uncomfortable with the idea of a prominent woman as a church leader, spuriously conflated Mary with the "sinful woman" in the Gospels who annointed Jesus's feet and dried them with her hair, a gesture which Wagner has Kundry perform for Parsifal in the third act of the opera.

    The striking character of Kundry is Wagner's original creation, unlike any character in the medieval versions of the Percival story, yet compounded of traits from many sources in Christian legend. One of these was the tale of St. Josaphat, in which the saint, who has taken a vow of chastity, is promised by a beautiful maiden that if he sleeps with her just once she will become a Christian and her soul will be saved. Kundry uses precisely this tactic after Parsifal refuses her seductive advances. The major source for Kundry was Wolfram's Parzival, but that poem actually contains no single character like her; Wagner took traits from three different characters. There is Condrie, the "loathly damsel", who can appear as either a repulsive hag or a lovely maiden (in Wagner, Kundry appears alternately as the wild woman who serves the knights of the Grail and the beautiful enchantress who seduces them under Klingsor's spell). There is Orgeluse, a lady who has been put under a spell by the sorcerer Clinschor; the grail king Anfortas sets out to win her heart, and in the process is wounded (in Wagner, Amfortas sets out with the Sacred Spear to destroy Klingsor, and while lying in Kundry's arms loses the Spear and is wounded by it). And there is Sigune, Parzival's cousin, who in Chretien's Perceval tells Perceval of his mother's death (Kundry does this in Parsifal) and in Wolfram reveals to Parzival his name (as Kundry does in Klingsor's garden). Other ingredients that went into Kundry were the legendary figure of the Wandering Jew - in one version, the Jew was accompanied by a woman named Herodias, which according to Klingsor was one of Kundry's names - and Wagner's own figure of Prakriti, the central female character in his projected opera on a Buddhist theme, Die Sieger.

    That Wagner was able to synthesize traits and actions of all these women into a single unique and powerful character is a compelling testimony to his skill as a dramatist.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Feb-12-2020 at 19:20.

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  5. #394
    Senior Member fluteman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    That Wagner was able to synthesize traits and actions of all these women into a single unique and powerful character is a compelling testimony to his skill as a dramatist.
    You make a persuasive case, or at least provide further support, for my view of Wagner as an innovator in using musical theater to examine deeper and more substantial philosophical, moral and religious themes rather than the lighter dramatic fare we see in many of the famous 18th and 19th century operas, which often feature farcical comedy or melodramatic tragedy, both often designed mainly to be a showcase for great music and singing (and nothing wrong with that -- no need to defend the traditional opera buffa / opera seria concepts and their greatest proponents, please).

    However, putting aside Wagner's music and looking at him solely from a dramatic and literary standpoint, his heavy reliance on ancient myth and metaphor tie him to pre-late 19th century traditions and put him behind trailblazing contemporaries like Henrik Ibsen and Gustav Flaubert. For me, Wagner's dramatic devices hark back to the day writers couldn't address contemporary social, political or religious themes directly for fear of offending the King or Queen or other aristocratic or ecclesiastical guardians of the traditional order. And that is hardly surprising, as he had radical political beliefs that got him into trouble, at least in his younger years. Maybe that trouble is what inspired him to express himself in this way. (And he was far from the last to resort to such dramatic devices. For example, L'apres-midi d'un faun, Daphnis et Chloe, and even Le sacre du printemps, can all be seen as examples of the use of ancient myth and metaphor to deal with sexual themes without provoking too much outrage. But I digress.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by fluteman View Post
    You make a persuasive case, or at least provide further support, for my view of Wagner as an innovator in using musical theater to examine deeper and more substantial philosophical, moral and religious themes rather than the lighter dramatic fare we see in many of the famous 18th and 19th century operas, which often feature farcical comedy or melodramatic tragedy, both often designed mainly to be a showcase for great music and singing (and nothing wrong with that -- no need to defend the traditional opera buffa / opera seria concepts and their greatest proponents, please).

    However, putting aside Wagner's music and looking at him solely from a dramatic and literary standpoint, his heavy reliance on ancient myth and metaphor tie him to pre-late 19th century traditions and put him behind trailblazing contemporaries like Henrik Ibsen and Gustav Flaubert. For me, Wagner's dramatic devices hark back to the day writers couldn't address contemporary social, political or religious themes directly for fear of offending the King or Queen or other aristocratic or ecclesiastical guardians of the traditional order. And that is hardly surprising, as he had radical political beliefs that got him into trouble, at least in his younger years. Maybe that trouble is what inspired him to express himself in this way.
    I doubt that Wagner was ever motivated artistically by the desire to stay out of trouble. He tried his hand at a few different opera genres before "finding himself," but even in maturity his works do differ somewhat in their style and intent (the comedy Die Meistersinger stands at quite a distance from Tristan or Parsifal). By the time he began to think of writing opera, the genre in Germany had already reflected the revival of interest in national folklore in the works of Carl Maria von Weber, most famously in the sensationally popular Der Freischutz (1821), and in operas such as Der Vampyr (1828) by the then-successful Heinrich Marschner. The young Wagner responded to this fascination with legendary and magical tales in his first opera Die Feen (The Fairies), composed in 1833 but not performed in his lifetime. His next opera was very different, a comedy, Das Liebesverbot (The Ban on Love), composed in 1836 and based on Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. Modeled on the French and Italian social comedies popular at the time, it deals in a fairly lighthearted way with the theme of sexual freedom in a repressive society, a theme Wagner would explore in a more serious way in later works. His third opera, Rienzi, premiered in 1842, was a grand opera in emulation of Meyerbeer on a thoroughly political theme, the story of a Roman populist leader opposed to the power of the nobility. Both Das Liebesverbot and Rienzi had social implications quite consistent with the young Wagner's own revolutionary political impulses, but I don't think the fact that his very next work, Der Fliegende Hollander (The Flying Dutchman, 1843) turned back to the Romantic world of folklore represented any sort of shyness about making political statements, especially given his participation a few years later in the revolutionary activities that necessitated his fleeing to Switzerland. I think it's simply a case of his finding, after some experimentation, his true sphere, the depiction of the internal drama of the spirit through the symbolism of myth and legend. But his commitment to symbolic drama shouldn't obscure the fact that in the stories of all his operas there is plenty of social criticism in the depiction of the struggle between the demands of nature - the subjective life of the individual - and the repressions and corruptions of society. In this Wagner prefigures Freud's ideas on civilization and repression - and, contrary to your evident impression, he got there some time before Ibsen, whose first major play, Brand, didn't come until 1865 when Wagner had already written the libretti of all his works except Parsifal.

    And he was far from the last to resort to such dramatic devices. For example, L'apres-midi d'un faun, Daphnis et Chloe, and even Le sacre du printemps, can all be seen as examples of the use of ancient myth and metaphor to deal with sexual themes without provoking too much outrage.
    Wagner's use of sexual themes provoked a goodly amount of outrage. It's always been one of the chief objections to Parsifal in particular that its religious content couldn't possibly be taken seriously since the whole plot seems (at first glance) to revolve around sex. That's definitely a subject worth looking into!
    Last edited by Woodduck; Feb-14-2020 at 03:33.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Ibsen, whose first major play, Brand, didn't come until 1865 when Wagner had already written the libretti of all his works except Parsifal.
    Thank you for that synopsis of Wagner's career, some of which I was aware of, but not all. I didn't mean Wagner was behind Ibsen temporally, they worked at roughly the same time, and your point that most of Wagner's work was completed a few years earlier is well taken. Flaubert also worked at roughly the same time (no?). I meant that Wagner was behind them in terms of the development of modern drama and literature, where Ibsen and Flaubert were at the vanguard. I'm not familiar with his earliest operas that you cite, and maybe I should be, but what I have seen makes use of much older dramatic traditions, one of which is what I've called "myth and metaphor". Ibsen and Flaubert were leaders of what is (perhaps somewhat misleadingly) called the "realist" movement in drama and literature, a new paradigm in which "ordinary" (though not truly ordinary) people and situations are depicted using ordinary language. I don't think Wagner was a dramatic or literary "realist" in that sense. His innovations were in a different area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fluteman View Post
    Thank you for that synopsis of Wagner's career, some of which I was aware of, but not all. I didn't mean Wagner was behind Ibsen temporally, they worked at roughly the same time, and your point that most of Wagner's work was completed a few years earlier is well taken. Flaubert also worked at roughly the same time (no?). I meant that Wagner was behind them in terms of the development of modern drama and literature, where Ibsen and Flaubert were at the vanguard. I'm not familiar with his earliest operas that you cite, and maybe I should be, but what I have seen makes use of much older dramatic traditions, one of which is what I've called "myth and metaphor". Ibsen and Flaubert were leaders of what is (perhaps somewhat misleadingly) called the "realist" movement in drama and literature, a new paradigm in which "ordinary" (though not truly ordinary) people and situations are depicted using ordinary language. I don't think Wagner was a dramatic or literary "realist" in that sense. His innovations were in a different area.
    Quite true about the difference between Ibsen's route and Wagner's. Ibsen used the everyday appearances of life to uncover the often scandalous (at least for his day) psychological truths that "proper" society preferred not to acknowledge. Wagner, if anything, moved increasingly in the direction of symbolism, to the point where everything in the Ring and Parsifal occurs in a parallel reality and has an esoteric meaning (or more than one), consistent and comprehensible at the level of emotional truth but baffling if we try to take it literally (which some people oddly insist on trying to do).

    Where Wagner was an unparalleled realist, however, was in his conception of music; he seemed to operate on the faith that virtually anything could be represented and expressed in the expanded vocabulary of Romantic music, and he never stopped pushing that language to express subtler and deeper dramatic conceptions. By the time he reached the third act of Parsifal he said that he felt as if he had to reinvent music itself; the desolate, searching prelude to that act, and the agonized processional before the final scene, contain chromatic ambiguities akin to the remarkable late piano pieces of Liszt, and possibly beyond anything to be heard before the second Viennese school they so clearly influenced.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ch3o2Fxxazw

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAECTUMtEjA
    Last edited by Woodduck; Feb-14-2020 at 06:52.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luchesi View Post
    There's probably recent interpretations about "the simplicity of Jesus’ teaching". But if you just read his ideas about dropping everything and following him, and forsaking your family and not caring about worldly concerns about your future, I think it needs a modern interpretation involving metaphors.

    Parsifal probably has gaps like this too.
    Agreed and this is where if you strip the 2000 years of accrued religion away (like Parsifal has) that Jesus' teaching becomes incredibly radical and challenging even today. I mean, 'Love your enemies'. Some of us have a problem with the guy next door!
    Last edited by DavidA; Feb-14-2020 at 11:40.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    By the time he reached the third act of Parsifal he said that he felt as if he had to reinvent music itself; the desolate, searching prelude to that act, and the agonized processional before the final scene, contain chromatic ambiguities akin to the remarkable late piano pieces of Liszt, and possibly beyond anything to be heard before the second Viennese school they so clearly influenced.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ch3o2Fxxazw

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAECTUMtEjA
    That orchestral prelude is a series of linked long legato phrases that lead into the third act proper with no transition. Not even an eighth rest pause or silence throughout. (Your comparison to late Liszt is apt.) The otherworldly atmosphere Wagner conveys here and elsewhere comes in large part from its departure from the characteristics of the human voice, whether speaking or singing. We humans need to pause to breathe, nor can our voices reach the crashing climaxes of a full orchestra. It's therefore no surprise that Wagner is such a workout for the orchestra, and requires the utmost strength and stamina in the singers. (I agree that Wagner stretches key Romantic music concepts here, structurally as well as harmonically, as far as anyone.)

    For me, Renaissance and Baroque music tended to reflect the characteristics of the human voice much more closely, and there finally was a return to that in modernism with its more episodic structures, choppier textures and shorter durations, as I've mentioned in other threads. Not to derail the thread, but discussing and listening to Parsifal again brings me back to for me an equally great masterpiece that also makes use of religious metaphor and symbolism, but from the early modern era, and that is Histoire du Soldat. (An old folktale is used, and the key symbols are a violin and a book.)

    But most relevant to your comment about the prelude to act 3 of Parsifal is Stravinsky's use of silence, so much unlike Wagner. The jaunty introduction to The Soldier's March comes to a complete halt after three measures for four beats of complete silence other than the clipped vamp from the bass. To me that encapsulates the entire ensuing story, as the march of life is suddenly cut off, leaving the limitless void that is all that can be left for one who has bargained away his immortal soul. There is no such moment for the heroic Parsifal, who declines such temptations.

    So we see the contrast between the Romantic and Modern sensibilities very starkly in these two works.


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    Quote Originally Posted by fluteman View Post
    That orchestral prelude is a series of linked long legato phrases that lead into the third act proper with no transition. Not even an eighth rest pause or silence throughout. (Your comparison to late Liszt is apt.) The otherworldly atmosphere Wagner conveys here and elsewhere comes in large part from its departure from the characteristics of the human voice, whether speaking or singing. We humans need to pause to breathe, nor can our voices reach the crashing climaxes of a full orchestra. It's therefore no surprise that Wagner is such a workout for the orchestra, and requires the utmost strength and stamina in the singers. (I agree that Wagner stretches key Romantic music concepts here, structurally as well as harmonically, as far as anyone.)

    For me, Renaissance and Baroque music tended to reflect the characteristics of the human voice much more closely, and there finally was a return to that in modernism with its more episodic structures, choppier textures and shorter durations, as I've mentioned in other threads. Not to derail the thread, but discussing and listening to Parsifal again brings me back to for me an equally great masterpiece that also makes use of religious metaphor and symbolism, but from the early modern era, and that is Histoire du Soldat. (An old folktale is used, and the key symbols are a violin and a book.)

    But most relevant to your comment about the prelude to act 3 of Parsifal is Stravinsky's use of silence, so much unlike Wagner. The jaunty introduction to The Soldier's March comes to a complete halt after three measures for four beats of complete silence other than the clipped vamp from the bass. To me that encapsulates the entire ensuing story, as the march of life is suddenly cut off, leaving the limitless void that is all that can be left for one who has bargained away his immortal soul. There is no such moment for the heroic Parsifal, who declines such temptations.

    So we see the contrast between the Romantic and Modern sensibilities very starkly in these two works.

    Wagner was definitely not Stravinsky's cup of tea. Their music couldn't be much more dissimilar. Among Stravinsky's many barbed dismissals of other composers, he said that a work of art had to be conceived in terms of definite boundaries, and that Wagner failed to acknowledge this. About the latter's "endless melody" Stravinsky remarked that it should never have begun at all, and of Parsifal he said that it's what you get when you start writing without a sense of limits. If you don't establish such limits, he quipped, "you end up with Parsifal - but who wants to write it again?" Of course that's all nonsense - if someone said that here on the forum he'd deserve to get piled on - but Stravinsky knew his wit was good copy.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Feb-14-2020 at 20:29.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Wagner was definitely not Stravinsky's cup of tea. Their music couldn't be much more dissimilar. Among Stravinsky's many babed dismissals of other composers, he said that a work of art had to be conceived in terms of definite boundaries, and that Wagner failed to acknowledge this. About the latter's "endless melody" Stravinsky remarked that it should never have begun at all, and of Parsifal he said that it's what you get when you start writing without a sense of limits. If you don't establish such limits, he quipped, "you end up with Parsifal - but who wants to write it again?" Of course that's all nonsense - if someone said that here on the forum he'd deserve to get piled on - but Stravinsky knew his wit was good copy.
    Burn!!! (Wagner is in good company. Stravinsky had his claws out for Vivaldi too, saying he wrote the same concerto 600 times.) But that's what makes art so much fun. Wagner celebrated magnificent, luxurious excess, Stravinsky responded with a tablespoon of astringent tonic and a strictly-timed bath of ice water.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fluteman View Post
    Burn!!! (Wagner is in good company. Stravinsky had his claws out for Vivaldi too, saying he wrote the same concerto 600 times.) But that's what makes art so much fun. Wagner celebrated magnificent, luxurious excess, Stravinsky responded with a tablespoon of astringent tonic and a strictly-timed bath of ice water.
    Wagner used a lot of chromaticism. Composers were wary of excessive chromaticism for the future.

    Stravinsky used polytonality. For example C major with a Db major over it gives you the flat ninth, the eleventh and the flat thirteenth. You hear the dissonance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luchesi View Post
    Wagner used a lot of chromaticism. Composers were wary of excessive chromaticism for the future.

    Stravinsky used polytonality. For example C major with a Db major over it gives you the flat ninth, the eleventh and the flat thirteenth. You hear the dissonance.
    Good point. I tried to discuss Stravinsky's use of polytonality in Petrushka in a previous thread. Here, I was talking about his use of silence. The opening theme of The Soldier's Tale stops dead in its tracks four measures in, just before reaching the final tonic chord in a cadence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luchesi View Post
    Wagner used a lot of chromaticism. Composers were wary of excessive chromaticism for the future.

    Stravinsky used polytonality. For example C major with a Db major over it gives you the flat ninth, the eleventh and the flat thirteenth. You hear the dissonance.
    An interesting thing about Wagner's harmony is that no matter how far he took chromatic fludity and ambiguity of key, he remained very classical in his part-writing and voice-leading. You can really appreciate this when you play a piano reduction of his scores (or follow along with the score in the YouTube clip of the prelude to Act 3 of Parsifal : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ch3o2Fxxazw). Sound for its own sake never took precedence over directionality and syntax; that was a Modernist idea, as heard in the floating, "impressionist" harmonies of Debussy and the tart dissonances of Stravinsky. The flower maidens' music in Parsifal is positively fragrant with sweet, ethereal harmony and scoring: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiMEePFDvNY, and even the more "religious" music in the opera can be quite sexy in its glowing sonority and subtle harmony. This sensuousness wasn't lost on Debussy (or Mahler, e.g. in "What the flowers tell me" in his third symphony), but in Wagner the music is still drawn in lines of clear polyphony, with voice-leading "by the book."

    Debussy may have recognized this musical conservatism when he called Wagner a "sunset mistaken for a dawn," and someone (I forget who) pointed out that the score of Parsifal, in its synthesis of a full range of styles from unaccompanied plainchant to diatonic renaissance polyphony to Tristanesque chromaticism to near-impressionism, virtually recapitulates the progression of Western music up to that moment. But Debussy also complained that echoes of the opera kept intruding as he composed Pelleas et Melisande, which won't surprise anyone who knows both operas at all well. Tristan gets plenty of recognition for its pioneering chromatic complexity, but the peculiar sound world of Parsifal was, in my estimation, no less influential; I hear echoes of its subtle harmony, radiant orchestration and mysterious moods not only in Debussy but in French postromanticism, in English music (Elgar, Vaughan Williams, et al.), in German music from the 1880s up to and including the Second Viennese School, and even in Sibelius. No surprise that Stravinsky was so eager to keep his distance, and after flirting with Romanticism found a style about as far from Wagner's as he could imagine. But I wonder whether he ever recognized that in the synthesis of styles that make up the score of Parsifal, Wagner was being something of a neoclassicist himself.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Feb-15-2020 at 23:43.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    No surprise that Stravinsky was so eager to keep his distance, and after flirting with Romanticism found a style about as far from Wagner's as he could imagine. But I wonder whether he ever recognized that in the synthesis of styles that make up the score of Parsifal, Wagner was being something of a neoclassicist himself.
    I don't know about Stravinsky, but Ravel as well as Debussy borrowed very obviously from Wagner. For example, you don't need to be a musicologist to figure out that Daybreak from Part III of Daphnis and Chloe is more than a little based on Forest Murmurs from Siegfried. I've read that Ravel had a monumental case of writer's block partway through writing Daphnis and nearly handed the job off to another composer. Then he suddenly regained his inspiration and finished it rather quickly. One has to wonder if listening to Forest Murmurs (perhaps it was in his record collection by 1912?) helped him get going again.

    And I actually do know a little bit about Stravinsky. He made a deliberate attempt to leave the 19th century behind after Firebird. I also think that it was not only successful, but also inevitable, much as the Finns can sit in a sweltering, steamy sauna only so long before they have to burst outside and jump naked into frigid water. Brrr. Some here are not too happy about how later composers developed Stravinsky's ideas, but he took that salutary first jump into the cold water.
    Last edited by fluteman; Feb-16-2020 at 02:32.

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