This is a section devoted to music.

My tastes in music are almost entirely Classical, I like some of other forms, but my primary interest is in this period. Of particular interest to me is the music of German Romantics (or German composers during the Nineteenth Century in general.) One specific type of music I enjoy (and which I am listening to as I write this) is the Lied. Lied is a German word meaning "song." While this refers to any kind of song, in this instance, it refers to what is called an "art-song." Art-songs usually are poems (by such people as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, or Heinrich Heine) which have been set to music. These poems, and hence, the songs, generally have very deep meanings, they are comments on society, or reflect strong emotions of love, hate, or angst.

I also enjoy opera (well, some operas), and so here is a link to The Libretto Home Page.

My favourite, and in my opinion, the best composer of operas is Richard Wagner. If you have read my German page, then you have already seen some about Wagner. Let me tell you some more here. Richard Wagner, for those who do not know, was a Nineteenth Century German who composed operas and almost nothing else. Some of his more famous works are Der Fliegende Hollaender, Tannhaeuser, Die Meistersinger von Nuernberg, Tris tan und Isolde, Parsifal, and Der Ring des Niblungen which is perhaps his magnum opus. This last is a cycle of four operas (The term Music Drama is one created by Wagner to differentiate his work from traditional opera. Quite often, before Wagner operas were essentially like modern musicals inform, where the spoken word (or recitative) carried the plot and there would be occassional periods of music that, while it enhanced the story, did not really figure into the action very often.. Wagner, on the other hand, had fully integrated works, music, text, drama, scene, etc., where everything contributed and in roughly equal amounts to the overall story.) written over a period of probably two or three decades, and which show his evolution as one of the most original and influential composers of all time.
This will eventually contain a link to where more Wagner information can be found.
The Golden Age for Wagner performances belongs to the late twenties, through the thirties, and the early forties, when the greatest people ever to sing Wagner were all active at the same time. Of all, arguably the best Wagnerian of all times (and almost certainly the best Heldentenor of all), Lauritz Melchior, is my favourite. It is simply not possible to describe in words the beauty and majesty of his tremendous voice. It is something that is best heard. And with many of his works transcribed from the original 78 RPM shellac disks onto CD's now, it is quite easy to hear him.

There will be more on Beethoven at a later time. And with what I just said, some of you may be tempted to think that Wagner was my favourite all-round composer, but you would be wrong, that honour falls to Ludwig van Beethoven. And he, of course, exerted a strong influence on the early Wagner. ;)

To return to opera for a moment, let me just quickly throw this link to the Metropolitan Opera Home Page.


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