The quest for the Gesamtkunstwerk and Richard Wagner by Hilda Meldrum Brown

By Hilda Meldrum Brown

The Gesamtkunstwerk ('total paintings of art'), as soon as a key inspiration in Wagner stories, has develop into tricky. This ebook sheds gentle in this conundrum by means of first tracing the improvement of the concept that within the nineteenth century via chosen examples, a few of which come with mixtures of alternative paintings kinds. It then makes a speciality of the end result of the Gesamtkunstwerk in Wagner's theories and within the perform of his past due song dramas, of which Der Ring des Nibelungen is the main entire illustration. ultimately, the publication contrasts the view of the Ring as a fusion of dramatic textual content and tune with the twentieth century pattern in the direction of Deconstruction in Wagnerian productions and the significance of Régie. in contrast pattern a case is made right here for a clean severe technique and a reconsideration of the character and foundation for the elemental team spirit which has hitherto been broadly perceived in Wagner's Ring. ways via Leitmotiv by myself are not any longer appropriate. even if, along side one other precept, second, which Wagner insisted on combining with rationale, those may be ingeniously 'staged' and recommended to dramatic ends by way of musical dynamics and expressive units reminiscent of accumulation. research of the 2 Erda scenes demonstrates how this advanced mixture of assets acts as a robust technique of fusion of the musical and dramatic parts within the Ring and confirms its prestige as a Gesamtkunstwerk.

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In both cases it is the natural element of water that determines the shape and structure of the garden. While being laid out with circular paths on two levels, a higher and a lower, and set in rolling, wooded country, the Stourhead garden is almost entirely constructed around its lake. It is planted in such a way as to bring buildings and natural features into a harmonious relationship by the creation of various cross-water prospects. The Wörlitz garden is dominated by water to a greater extent than any other, possibly because of its position on a floodplain, girdled on one side by a tributary of the river Elbe, and within its own bounds by its small lakes and blind river-arms, some formed by previous inundations, around which the buildings and landscape features are grouped on islands and peninsulas.

The Romantics—virtually a second generation of Shakespeare worshippers—would take this notion of ‘Shakespearean licence’ a step further.  F. W. J. Schelling, The Philosophy of Art, ed. Douglas W. Stott (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989), 280.  See Hilda Meldrum Brown, ‘Richard Wagner and the Zurich Writings 1849–1851: From Revolution to “Ring” ’, Wagner Journal, 8/2 (July 2014), 28–42, here 34–7. 42 the gesamtkunstwerk before wagner Romantic programme had already emphasized the ‘multicultural’, inclusive nature of the respective art forms within the framework of Universalpoesie.

At the halfway mark of the garden’s evolution and after Lord Cobham’s death in 1749, his successor, and nephew, Earl Temple, made many changes, turning his attention in particular to ‘classicizing’ the many existing buildings, and adding such pompous features as grand avenues and triumphal arches. This phase represented a huge contrast to the beginnings of the garden. In its earliest incarnation as a landscape garden, dating from the early 18th century, Cobham and his first landscape architect, Charles Bridgeman, had allowed vestiges of the formal parterres and emblematic inscriptions associated with 17th-century French and Italian garden style to linger on into the 1720s.

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