excerpt from 'In Pursuit of Music' pp. 52-54 (268 words)

excerpt from 'In Pursuit of Music' pp. 52-54 (268 words)

part of

In Pursuit of Music

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urn:iso:std:iso:639:ed-3:eng

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52-54

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It happened that Sir Henry [Wood] was also in charge of the only music to be heard during a much earlier Easter visit to London – a concert of extracts from Parsifal.

                Wagner […] became an essential part of my life long before I heard a note of him in the theatre.  Nevertheless the endurance of two hours’ worth of solemn slow-moving music, for the most part starting and ending nowhere, might have been expected to depress the spirits of a thirteen-year-old whose idea of heaven was the healthy, compact vitality of a Beethoven symphony.  Nothing of the sort happened, however, for my attention was far too absorbed in Wagner’s genius at the handling of purely musical material for me to remain unmoved.  I am far from being an uncritical Wagnerite but have never wavered from my first reaction: that his was one of the greatest musical minds of all time and, within one’s experience, by far the most all-embracing since the death of Beethoven […]

                The programme on that Good Friday in 1932 was confined to Parsifal.  There were the preludes to acts one and three, the first Grail scene, the Flower Maidens (transformed by some alchemy, certainly not Klingsor’s, into solo violins), ‘Herzeleide’ sung by Muriel Brunskill, Amfortas’s Prayer by Harold Williams, and, appropriately enough, the Good Friday Music.  Most of the fragments I carried away in my mind revolved round some crystallisation of harmony.  The reiner Tor motif struck me a as a remarkable example of atmosphere being created with the minimum of notes […]

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excerpt from 'In Pursuit of Music' pp. 52-54 (268 words)

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