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 [...]

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 [...]

A Discussion on German Romanticism, the Psyche and the Nous, with Fr Alexander Tefft.

In reading about psychology and mental illness (specifically, in a book on the late romantic composer Gustav Mahler), some phenomena strike me as having a spiritual dimension to them: dissociation, for example. What is more, the focus of ‘object relations’ theory seems to me to relate as much to human relationships as to one’s relationship [...]

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 [...]