excerpt from 'Musings and Memories of a Musician' pp. 135-136 (340 words)

excerpt from 'Musings and Memories of a Musician' pp. 135-136 (340 words)

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Musings and Memories of a Musician

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The moment, however, you entered the theatre, you seemed transformed. Frivolity was left outside. Quietly the people took their seats, and what little there had been of subdued talking was hushed into a solemn silence just before the commencement of the music.


From act to act, from performance to performance, the excitement of the vast audience grew. In Rheingold the wonderful impersonation of Loge by Vogl; in the Walküre that incomparable trio of artists : Albert Niemann as Siegmund, Betz as Wotan, Amalie Friedrich Materna as Brünnhilde ; in Siegfried the manly, youthful figure of Unger, the masterly study of the cunning Mime, by Schlosser ; in the Götterdämmerung the noble personality of Gura as Gunther, to mention a few only—who that was present at this feast could ever forget it ?


To me the culminating point of the whole was the Death of Siegfried. Alone from the point of scenic beauty I have never seen anything to compare with it. As the body of Siegfried was placed on the shield and slowly carried shoulder-high along the hilly, wooded banks of the Rhine to the passionate strains of that stupendous Funeral March, the moon breaking through the clouds just at the appearance of the beautiful Love-motif, the impression was simply overwhelming. Wagner's conception of the music drama as a perfect blending of the three arts, poetry, music, and painting, here seemed to have had its consummate realisation. After the last note of the great trilogy [sic] had died away and the seemingly minute-long, awed silence of the deeply moved audience given place to an outburst of frantic enthusiasm, amid which Wagner was called again and again, until he delivered himself of that historical speech containing the famous and at the time much-discussed phrase, " Now it rests with you whether or no we shall have a German Art," I had to walk around the theatre in the dark for a while, quite by myself, before I felt like returning to reality and realism by joining my friends at supper. 

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excerpt from 'Musings and Memories of a Musician' pp. 135-136 (340 words)


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