Der Ring des Nibelungen: Composition of the music
The composition of the operatic tetralogy The Ring of the Nibelung occupied Richard Wagner for more than a quarter of a century. Conceived around 1848, the work was not finished until 1874, less than two years before the entire cycle was given its premiere at Bayreuth. Most of this time was devoted to the composition of the music, the text having been completed in about four years. Like his libretti, Wagner's operatic scores passed through a series of distinct stages from sketch to fair copy. Furthermore, it was Wagner's practice to work on two or more drafts of a work at the same time, switching back and forth between them as the fancy took him, it is all but impossible to make definitive statements about the exact order in which the various themes and instrumentations were arrived at. Each score, did pass through at least three stages, there being seven possible stages in all: Preliminary and Supplementary Sketches – before beginning the composition proper, Wagner made some preliminary sketches to work on.
Needless to say, he added supplementary sketches to these throughout the compositional process. These sketches are sometimes little more. Sometimes they are labelled. Unlike the preliminary sketches for his earlier operas, which were settings of lines of text, the sketches for the Ring operas were worked out independently of the text, it is unlikely that all Wagner's sketches have come down to us, of course not everything need have been sketched - some of the music for the preliminary drafts may have been composed from scratch as it was required - but the "cleaner" a passage in a draft is, the more it is that it was preceded by a sketch. Preliminary Draft – the first complete draft in pencil of the entire work or of an entire act. There is only one vocal stave and one or two instrumental staves. Instrumental interludes are sometimes elaborated on three staves; the preliminary draft for Das Rheingold was similar in detail to the one Wagner composed for Lohengrin, but those of the following three Ring operas were as detailed as Lohengrin's second complete draft.
Developed Draft – in the case of Siegfried, the preliminary drafts were elaborated before Wagner proceeded to develop the full scores. In these intermediate drafts, he worked out all the orchestral details, including instrumental doublings; the developed drafts for the first two acts of Siegfried are in ink and are written on one vocal and two instrumental staves throughout. In WWV these developed drafts are called Orchesterskizzen, a term which WWV employs to describe the more elaborate second drafts of the acts of the Ring. Orchestral Draft – in the composition of the third act of Siegfried and all three acts of Götterdämmerung, the preliminary draft was followed by an elaborate short score written in ink on two or three vocal staves and as many as five instrumental staves; these Orchesterskizzen, as Wagner himself styled them, are more detailed than the developed drafts of the first two acts of Siegfried. Instrumentation Draft – in the case of the four scenes of Das Rheingold, the preliminary draft was followed by what Wagner termed an Instrumentationsskizze, in which he worked out most of the orchestral details.
This draft was written on as many staves as were required by the instrumentation. It is thus but one remove from being a full score, in WWV both are referred to by the same name; the instrumental prelude that precedes Scene 1 was not included in the instrumentation draft, but was written out in ink in full score without any intermediate stage, as is explained below. Full Score – the final score, in which the instrumentation is detailed and separate staves are allocated to the various instruments and singers; the full scores for Die Walküre and Siegfried are in pencil. Needless to say, as many staves are used as are required by the instrumentation. No full score was made for Das Rheingold, as the instrumentation draft was considered sufficiently detailed for a fair copy to be made directly from it. Fair Copy – a clean copy in ink of the full score. Wagner only drafted fair copies for Die Walküre and the first two acts of Siegfried. In the case of the Das Rheingold, there was no full score as such, so the fair copy was the only copy of the full score.
In the case of Siegfried and the whole of Götterdämmerung the full scores were written neatly in ink, so Wagner did not deem it necessary to draft a separate fair copy. The fair copy of Das Rheingold was, the first fair copy Wagner made of one of his operas, it took Wagner just over four years to complete the text of his Ring cycle. The composition of the music, would occupy him, on and off, for a quarter of a century. In the summer of 1850 he began to compose music for the prologue of Siegfried's Tod (Siegfried's Death, as Götterdämmerung was or
Georg Unger was a German operatic tenor most famous for playing Siegfried in Der Ring des Nibelungen written by Richard Wagner. Unger was born in Leipzig, as a student studied Theology and music, he made his singing debut aged 37, going on to make appearances at Cassel, Bremen, Brunn and Mannheim. He was recommended to Richard Wagner for the role of Siegfried by Hans Richter, after close supervision from a singing tutor, he performed the part in Siegfried and Götterdämmerung with great success at Bayreuth in 1876 and at other venues in the premiere of the complete cycle of Der Ring des Nibelungen, conducted by Richter. In the same cycle, Unger played Froh in Das Rheingold, he made regular appearances at Leipzig from 1877 to 1881. He was married to soprano Marie Haupt. Unger and Der Ring des Nibelungen Wagner And Scenic Art
In Germanic mythology, Odin is a revered Germanic god. In Norse mythology, from which stems most surviving information about the god, Odin is associated with wisdom, death, the gallows, war, victory, poetry and the runic alphabet, is the husband of the goddess Frigg. In wider Germanic mythology and paganism, the god was known in Old English as Wōden, in Old Saxon as Wōdan, in Old High German as Wuotan or Wōtan, all stemming from the reconstructed Proto-Germanic theonym *wōđanaz. Odin is a prominently mentioned god throughout the recorded history of the Germanic peoples, from the Roman occupation of regions of Germania through the tribal expansions of the Migration Period and the Viking Age. In the modern period, Odin continued to be acknowledged in the rural folklore of Germanic Europe. References to Odin appear in place names throughout regions inhabited by the ancient Germanic peoples, the day of the week Wednesday bears his name in many Germanic languages, including English. In Old English texts, Odin holds a particular place as a euhemerized ancestral figure among royalty, he is referred to as a founding figure among various other Germanic peoples, such as the Langobards.
Forms of his name appear throughout the Germanic record, though narratives regarding Odin are found in Old Norse works recorded in Iceland around the 13th century. These texts make up the bulk of modern understanding of Norse mythology. In Old Norse texts, Odin is depicted as one-eyed and long-bearded wielding a spear named Gungnir, wearing a cloak and a broad hat, he is accompanied by his animal companions and familiars—the wolves Geri and Freki and the ravens Huginn and Muninn, who bring him information from all over Midgard—and rides the flying, eight-legged steed Sleipnir across the sky and into the underworld. Odin is the son of Bestla and Borr and has two brothers, Vili and Vé. Odin is attested as having many sons, most famously the gods Thor and Baldr, is known by hundreds of names. In these texts, he seeks greater knowledge, at times in disguise, makes wagers with his wife Frigg over the outcome of exploits, takes part in both the creation of the world by way of slaying the primordial being Ymir and giving the gift of life to the first two humans Ask and Embla.
Odin has a particular association with Yule, mankind's knowledge of both the runes and poetry is attributed to him, giving Odin aspects of the culture hero. In Old Norse texts, female beings associated with the battlefield—the valkyries—are associated with the god and Odin oversees Valhalla, where he receives half of those who die in battle, the einherjar; the other half are chosen by the goddess Freyja for Fólkvangr. Odin consults the disembodied, herb-embalmed head of the wise being Mímir for advice, during the foretold events of Ragnarök, Odin is told to lead the einherjar into battle before being consumed by the monstrous wolf Fenrir. In folklore, Odin appears as a leader of the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession of the dead through the winter sky, he is associated with charms and other forms of magic in Old English and Old Norse texts. Odin is a frequent subject of study in Germanic studies, numerous theories have been put forward regarding his development; some of these focus on Odin's particular relation to other figures.
Other approaches focus on Odin's place in the historical record, a frequent question being whether the figure of Odin derives from Proto-Indo-European religion, or whether he developed in Germanic society. In the modern period, Odin has inspired numerous works of poetry and other forms of media, he is venerated in most forms of the new religious movement Heathenry, together with other gods venerated by the ancient Germanic peoples. The Old Norse theonym Óðinn and its cognates, including Old English Wōden, Old Saxon Wōden, Old High German Wuotan, derive from the reconstructed Proto-Germanic theonym *wōđanaz; the masculine noun *wōđanaz developed from the Proto-Germanic adjective *wōđaz, related to Latin vātēs and Old Irish fáith, both meaning'seer, prophet'. Adjectives stemming from *wōđaz include Gothic woþs'possessed', Old Norse óðr,'mad, furious', Old English wōd'mad'; the adjective *wōđaz was further substantivised, leading to Old Norse óðr'mind, soul, sense', Old English ellen-wōd'zeal', Middle Dutch woet'madness', Old High German wuot'thrill, violent agitation'.
Additionally the Old Norse noun æði'rage, fury' and Old High German wuotī'madness' derive from the feminine noun *wōđīn, from *wōđaz. The weak verb *wōđjanan derived from *wōđaz, gave rise to Old Norse æða'to rage', Old English wēdan'to be mad, furious', Old Saxon wōdian'to rage', Old High German wuoten'to be insane, to rage'. Over 170 names are recorded for Odin; these names are variously descriptive of attributes of the god, refer to myths involving him, or refer to religious practices associated with the god. This multitude of names makes Odin the god with the most names known among the Germanic peoples; the modern English weekday name Wednesday derives from Old English wōdnesdæg. Cognate terms are found in other Germanic languages, such as Middle Low German wōdensdach, Old Norse Óðinsdagr (Danish, Nor
A baritone is a type of classical male singing voice whose vocal range lies between the bass and the tenor voice types. From the Greek βαρύτονος, meaning heavy sounding, music for this voice is written in the range from the second F below middle C to the F above middle C in choral music, from the second A below middle C to the A above middle C in operatic music, but can be extended at either end; the baritone voice type is divided into the baryton-Martin baritone, lyric baritone, Verdi baritone, dramatic baritone, baryton-noble baritone, the bass-baritone. The first use of the term "baritone" emerged as baritonans, late in the 15th century in French sacred polyphonic music. At this early stage it was used as the lowest of the voices, but in 17th-century Italy the term was all-encompassing and used to describe the average male choral voice. Baritones took the range as it is known today at the beginning of the 18th century, but they were still lumped in with their bass colleagues until well into the 19th century.
Indeed, many operatic works of the 18th century have roles marked as bass that in reality are low baritone roles. Examples of this are to be found, for instance, in the operas and oratorios of George Frideric Handel; the greatest and most enduring parts for baritones in 18th-century operatic music were composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. They include Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Papageno in The Magic Flute and the lead in Don Giovanni. In theatrical documents, cast lists, journalistic dispatches that from the beginning of the 19th century till the mid 1820s, the terms primo basso, basse chantante, basse-taille were used for men who would be called baritones; these included the likes of Filippo Galli, Giovanni Inchindi, Henri-Bernard Dabadie. The basse-taille and the proper bass were confused because their roles were sometimes sung by singers of either actual voice part; the bel canto style of vocalism which arose in Italy in the early 19th century supplanted the castrato-dominated opera seria of the previous century.
It led to the baritone being viewed as a separate voice category from the bass. Traditionally, basses in operas had been cast as authority figures such as high priest. More than not, baritones found themselves portraying villains; the principal composers of bel canto opera are considered to be: Gioachino Rossini. The prolific operas of these composers, plus the works of Verdi's maturity, such as Un ballo in maschera, La forza del destino, Don Carlos/Don Carlo, the revised Simon Boccanegra, Aida and Falstaff, blazed many new and rewarding performance pathways for baritones. Figaro in Il barbiere is called the first true baritone role; however and Verdi in their vocal writing went on to emphasize the top fifth of the baritone voice, rather than its lower notes—thus generating a more brilliant sound. Further pathways opened up when the musically complex and physically demanding operas of Richard Wagner began to enter the mainstream repertory of the world's opera houses during the second half of the 19th century.
The major international baritone of the first half of the 19th century was the Italian Antonio Tamburini. He was a famous Don Giovanni in Mozart's eponymous opera as well as being a Bellini and Donizetti specialist. Commentators praised his voice for its beauty and smooth tonal emission, which are the hallmarks of a bel canto singer. Tamburini's range, was closer to that of a bass-baritone than to that of a modern "Verdi baritone", his French equivalent was Henri-Bernard Dabadie, a mainstay of the Paris Opera between 1819 and 1836 and the creator of several major Rossinian baritone roles, including Guillaume Tell. Dabadie sang in Italy, where he originated the role of Belcore in L'elisir d'amore in 1832; the most important of Tamburini's Italianate successors were all Verdians. They included: Giorgio Ronconi, who created the title role in Verdi's Nabucco Felice Varesi, who created the title roles in Macbeth and Rigoletto as well as Germont in La traviata Antonio Superchi, the originator of Don Carlo in Ernani Francesco Graziani, the original Don Carlo di Vargas in La forza del destino Leone Giraldoni, the creator of Renato in Un ballo in maschera and the first Simon Boccanegra Enrico Delle Sedie, London's first Renato Adriano Pantaleoni, renowned for his performances as Amonasro in Aida as well as other Verdi roles at La Scala, Milan Francesco Pandolfini, whose singing at La Scala during the 1870s was praised by Verdi Antonio Cotogni, a much lauded singer in Milan and Saint Petersburg, the first Italian Posa in Don Carlos and a great vocal pedagogue, too Filippo Coletti, creator of Verdi's Gusmano in Alzira, Francesco in I masnadieri, Germont in the second version of La traviata and for whom Verdi considered writing the opera'Lear'.
Arthur Rackham was an English book illustrator. He is recognized as one of the leading literary figures during the Golden Age of British book illustration, his work is noted for its robust pen and ink drawings, which were combined with the use of watercolour. Rackham's 51 color pieces for the Early American tale became a turning point in the production of books since - through color-separated printing - it featured the accurate reproduction of color artwork; some of his best-known works include the illustrations for Rip Van Winkle, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm. Rackham was born in Lewisham still part of Kent, as one of 12 children. In 1884, at the age of 17, he was sent on an ocean voyage to Australia to improve his fragile health, accompanied by two aunts. At the age of 18, he worked as a clerk at the Westminster Fire Office and began studying part-time at the Lambeth School of Art. In 1892, he left his job and started working for the Westminster Budget as a reporter and illustrator.
His first book illustrations were published in 1893 in To the Other Side by Thomas Rhodes, but his first serious commission was in 1894 for The Dolly Dialogues, the collected sketches of Anthony Hope, who went on to write The Prisoner of Zenda. Book illustrating became Rackham's career for the rest of his life. By the turn of the century, Rackham had developed a reputation for pen and ink fantasy illustration with richly illustrated gift books such as The Ingoldsby Legends, Gulliver's Travels and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm; this was developed further through the austere years of the Boer War with regular contributions to children's periodicals such as Little Folks and Cassell's Magazine. In 1901 he moved to Wychcombe Studios near Haverstock Hill, in 1903 married his neighbour Edyth Starkie. Edith suffered a miscarriage in 1904, but the couple had one daughter, Barbara, in 1908. Although acknowledged as an accomplished black-and-white book illustrator for some years, it was the publication of his full colour plates to Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle by Heinemann in 1905 that brought him into public attention, his reputation being confirmed the following year with J.
M. Barrie's Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, published by Stoughton. Income from the books was augmented by annual exhibitions of the artwork at the Leicester Galleries. Rackham won a gold medal at the Milan International Exhibition in 1906 and another one at the Barcelona International Exposition in 1912, his works were included in numerous exhibitions, including one at the Louvre in Paris in 1914. From 1906 the family lived in Chalcot Gardens, near Haverstock Hill, until moving from London to Houghton, West Sussex in 1920. In 1929 the family settled into a newly built property in Surrey. Arthur Rackham died in 1939 of cancer at his home. Arthur Rackham is regarded as one of the leading illustrators from the'Golden Age' of British book illustration which encompassed the years from 1890 until the end of the First World War. During that period, there was a strong market for high quality illustrated books which were given as Christmas gifts. Many of Rackham's books were produced in a de luxe limited edition vellum bound and signed, as well as a smaller, less ornately bound quarto'trade' edition.
This was sometimes followed by a more modestly presented octavo edition in subsequent years for popular books. The onset of the war in 1914 curtailed the market for such quality books, the public's taste for fantasy and fairies declined in the 1920s. Arthur Rackham's works have become popular since his death, both in North America and Britain, his images have been used by the greeting card industry and many of his books are still in print or have been available in both paperback and hardback editions. His original drawings and paintings are keenly sought at the major international art auction houses. Rackham's illustrations were chiefly based on robust pen and India ink drawings. Rackham perfected his own uniquely expressive line from his background in journalistic illustration, paired with subtle use of watercolour, a technique which he was able to exploit due to technological developments in photographic reproduction. With this development, Rackham's illustrations no longer needed an engraver to cut clean lines on a wood or petal plate for printing because the artist had his works photographed and mechanically reproduced.
Rackham would first block in shapes and details of the drawing with a soft pencil, for the more elaborate colour plates utilising one of a small selection of compositional devices. Over this, he would carefully work in lines of pen and India ink, removing the pencil traces after the drawing had begun to take form. For colour pictures, Rackham preferred the 3-colour process or trichromatic printing, which reproduced the delicate half-tones of photography through letterpress printing, he would begin painting by building up multiple thin washes of watercolour creating translucent tints. One of the disadvantages of the 3-colour printing process in the early years was that definition could be lost in the final print. Rackham would sometimes compensate for this by over-inking his drawings once more after painting, he would go on to expand the use of silhouette cuts in illustration work in the period after the First World War, as exemplified by his Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. Rackham contributed both colour and monotone illustrations towards the works incorporating his images – and in the case of Hawthorne's Wonder Book, he provided a number of part-coloured block images simil
Josephine Schefsky was a German opera singer who had an active career during the latter half of the 19th century. Possessing a powerful voice with a wide vocal range, she tackled roles from both the soprano and mezzo-soprano repertoires, she is best remembered today for portraying several roles in the first complete presentation of Richard Wagner's The Ring Cycle at the first Bayreuth Festival in 1876. Schefsky made her professional opera debut in 1868 at the Bavarian State Opera as Orfeo in Christoph Willibald Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, she was one of the leading artists at that house up through 1883 and was the favorite performer of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. While there she notably sang the role of Amneris in the Munich premiere of Giuseppe Verdi's Aida in 1877. Wagner heard Schefsky perform in Munich and was impressed by her vocal and dramatic abilities, he invited her to take part in the first presentation of the complete Ring Cycle at the Bayreuth Festival in 1876. At the festival she premiered the role of the second Norn in Wagner's Götterdämmerung on 17 August 1876 and sang the role of Sieglinde in Wagner's Die Walküre on 14 August 14, 1876.
In 1882 Schefsky portrayed Magdalena in the United Kingdom premiere of Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London under the direction of Hans Richter. After leaving the employ of the Bavarian State Opera in 1883, she sang at the Opéra national du Rhin and the Vienna State Opera in 1883/84, she spent her last few years on the stage performing at the Berlin State Opera and the Oper Frankfurt. Among the many roles she sang on stage were Azucena in Verdi's Il trovatore, Fidès in Giacomo Meyerbeer's Le prophète, Frau Reich in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Gertrude in Ambroise Thomas's Hamlet, Maddalena in Verdi's Rigoletto, Sieglinde in The Ring Cycle. After retiring from the stage in the early 1890s, Schefsky taught singing in Munich, she died there in 1912 at the age of 69
The Norns in Norse mythology are female beings who rule the destiny of gods and men. They correspond to other controllers of humans' destiny, such as the Fates, elsewhere in European mythology. In Snorri Sturluson's interpretation of the Völuspá, Urðr, Verðandi and Skuld, the three most important of the Norns, come out from a hall standing at the Well of Urðr or Well of Fate, they draw water from the well and take sand that lies around it, which they pour over the Yggdrasill tree so that its branches will not rot. These three Norns are described as powerful maiden giantesses whose arrival from Jötunheimr ended the golden age of the gods, they may be the same as the maidens of Mögþrasir. Beside these three famous Norns, there are many others who appear at a person's birth in order to determine his or her future. In the pre-Christian Norse societies, Norns were thought to have visited newborn children. There were both malevolent and benevolent Norns: the former caused all the malevolent and tragic events in the world while the latter were kind and protective goddesses.
The origin of the name norn is uncertain, it may derive from a word meaning "to twine" and which would refer to their twining the thread of fate. Bek-Pedersen suggests that the word norn has relation to the Swedish dialect word norna, a verb that means "secretly communicate"; this relates to the perception of norns as shadowy, background figures who only ever reveal their fateful secrets to men as their fates come to pass. The name Urðr means "fate". Wyrd and urðr are etymological cognates, which does not guarantee that wyrd and urðr share the same semantic quality of "fate" over time. Both Urðr and Verðandi are derived from the Old Norse verb verða, "to be", it is asserted that while Urðr derives from the past tense, Verðandi derives from the present tense of verða. Skuld is derived from the Old Norse verb skulu, "need/ought to be/shall be". Due to this, it has been inferred that the three norns are in some way connected with the past and future but it has been disputed that their names imply a temporal distinction and it has been emphasised that the words do not in themselves denote chronological periods in Old Norse.
There is no clear distinction between norns, fylgjas and valkyries, nor with the generic term dísir. Moreover, artistic license permitted such terms to be used for mortal women in Old Norse poetry. To quote Snorri Sturluson's Skáldskaparmál on the various names used for women: Woman is metaphorically called by the names of the Asynjur or the Valkyrs or Norns or women of supernatural kind; these unclear distinctions among norns and other Germanic female deities are discussed in Bek-Pedersen's book Norns in Old Norse Mythology. There are a number of surviving Old Norse sources; the most important sources are the Poetic Edda. The latter contains pagan poetry where the norns are referred to, while the former contains, in addition to pagan poetry, retellings and commentaries by the 12th and 13th century Icelandic chieftain and scholar Snorri Sturluson. A skaldic reference to the norns appears in Hvini's poem in Ynglingatal 24 found in Ynglingasaga 47, where King Halfdan is put to rest by his men at Borró.
This reference brings in the phrase "norna dómr" which means "judgment of the nornir". In most cases, when the norns pass judgment, it means death to those who have been judged - in this case, Halfdan. Along with being associated with being bringers of death, Bek-Pedersen suggests that this phrase brings in a quasi-legal aspect to the nature of the norns; this legal association is employed quite within skaldic and eddic sources. This phrase can be seen as a threat, as death is the final and inevitable decision that the norns can make with regard to human life; the Poetic Edda is valuable in representing older material in poetry from which Snorri tapped information in the Prose Edda. Like Gylfaginning, the Poetic Edda mentions the existence of many lesser norns beside the three main norns. Moreover, it agrees with Gylfaginning by telling that they were of several races and that the dwarven norns were the daughters of Dvalin, it suggests that the three main norns were giantesses. Fáfnismál contains a discussion between the hero Sigurd and the dragon Fafnir, dying from a mortal wound from Sigurd.
The hero asks Fafnir of many things, among them the nature of the norns. Fafnir explains that they are many and from several races: It appears from Völuspá and Vafþrúðnismál that the three main norns were not goddesses but giantesses, that their arrival ended the early days of bliss for the gods, but that they come for the good of mankind. Völuspá relates that three giantesses of huge might are reported to have arrived to the gods from Jotunheim: Vafþrúðnismál refers to the norns when it talks of maiden giantesses who arrive to protect the people of earth as protective spirits: The Völuspá contains the names of the three main Norns referring to them as maidens like Vafþrúðnismál does: The norns visited each newly born child to allot his or her future, in Helgakviða Hundingsbana I, the hero Helgi Hundingsbane has just been born and norns arrive at the homestead: In Helgakviða Hundingsbana II, Helgi Hundingsbane blames the norns for the fact that he had to kill Sigrún's father Högni and brother Bragi in order to wed her: Like Snorri Sturluson stated in Gylfaginning, people's fate depended on the benevolence or the malevolenc