George Benjamin’s Written On Skin – Analysis of a Scene

https://youtu.be/TP4mZxXh1Yw

Wagner’s Parsifal – A Musical Analysis

https://youtu.be/DJwf8xsg_zg In this video, I’m looking at the prelude to the third act of Parsifal, the last music drama by Richard Wagner, and one of my favourite pieces of music. I won’t go into too much depth of analysis, but I do want to note a few things that may help us to appreciate the [...]

Billy Budd – A closer look at the score

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZhTAcO0r9o I want to look at a particular passage from Benjamin Britten’s great opera, Billy Budd, to see how we can learn from his orchestral writing. Billy Budd is a truly masterful work, and really rewards repeated listening; I recommend especially the 1966 BBC production that is, at least currently, available on YouTube, if you’re [...]

Composing the Sea

A Scene from Britten's Death in Venice It may seem strange to focus on Benjamin Britten’s Death in Venice in talking about how he composed his seascapes; after all, he returned to the subject many times throughout his career – perhaps more than any other composer – and often treated it more directly than in [...]

Syberberg’s Parsifal: Wagner and Esotericism

Following on from my article on Barfield’s use of the Eternal Feminine, I want to examine Hans-Jürgen Syberbeg’s adaption of Richard Wagner’s opera Parsifal. This film is a masterful achievement on several fronts. Syberberg manages to draw out many elements implicit in the story, as well as reading into it some esoteric themes of his [...]

The Lord of the Ring? Tolkien and Wagner

J.R.R. Tolkien once wrote, responding to comparisons between The Lord of the Rings and Richard Wagner’s Ring cycle, that: ‘Both rings were round, and there the resemblance ceased.’ Clearly the comparison irked him, the inventor of a truly unique work of creative genius, but his response seems overly dismissive and simplistic at best. This essay [...]