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Rheingold seems to me a caricature on capitalism
 

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Re: the Ring, here's an interesting video illustrating the melding of various motifs during the ending of Götterdämmerung. It isn't a hodge-podge; one of the amazing things to me is the artistic control Wagner maintained over the whole project over the course of more than two decades.
Now that's something I think is truly original (and multi-dimensional) in its creation. I'm reminded of a certain member in the Classical music discussion forum who imv overrates the "narrative structural cyclic thematic processes" (or whatever) of the instrumental stuff of Brahms, Franck, Tchaikovsky
With the exception of Wagner, I can't see what's so original about theirs regarding the "design" you frequently talk about. Based on what you've explained regarding that topic, it seems a bit derivative of what came before them.
he always talks like "Rachmaninoff PC#2: thematic material of the 1st movement is tranferred to the 3rd movement! wow.. INGENIOUS!". It's kind of funny to me, cause frankly they don't really seem to be a new thing from, say,
 
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