Download A Left Hand Like God: Study of Boogie-woogie by Peter J. Silvester PDF

By Peter J. Silvester

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Additional info for A Left Hand Like God: Study of Boogie-woogie

Sample text

This overcoming of the will to power demands sacrifice of a kind that love alone can accomplish. That is what Brünnhilde – the Valkyrie who has, through compassion, fallen into the human world from the cold realm of the immortals – finally understands, as she joins her beloved Siegfried in death. The self-sacrifice of the individual rearranges the world, atones for the original sin of existence and in some way fulfils what we are. But whether it returns us to the natural order and whether that return is in any case desirable are questions to which the drama gives only ambiguous answers.

The music of Die Walküre expresses the work of love, and dramatizes the price that must be paid for love when we surrender to its claims on us. Wagner was not in any straightforward sense a religious believer; but he took a profoundly religious view of the human condition. His aim in all the mature works was to give credibility to the thought that we are rescued by our ideals, despite their purely human origin, and also because of it. The gods, demi-gods and goblins portrayed in The Ring are personifications of our unconscious needs and strivings – they are thrown off by that great explosion of moral energy, whereby the human community emerges from the natural order and becomes conscious of its apartness.

In allegory a story is told in which each character, each object and each action stands for something else – usually a universal concept – so that a narrative of concrete episodes forges a connection between abstract ideas. 12 Heise derives his allegory from a close reading of the philosophy of Wagner’s early mentor Ludwig Feuerbach, as well as from the text and music of The Ring and Wagner’s own voluminous writings. The allegory is spelled out carefully, with the leitmotifs identified at every occurrence, so that the reader can click on to the score and hear the music.

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