It’s that time again to put The Spin your hands! The topic this round: The Greatest Piece of Richard Wagner Music.
As Sam Juliano from Wonders in the Dark so eloquently mused, “Richard Wagner was a racist, an anti-Semite and a bigamist, yet he wrote some of the most extraordinarily beautiful music in the history of Western civilization.” And it was Sam’s chatter on the facebook that spurred this post.
It got me wondering, not only about all that great music (that lends itself so eerily well to cinema) but also, “What the hell was going on in Wagner’s head?” His music has spawned men like Adolph Hitler to score their epic and vile plans for world domination, while it left others rapt and spellbound with fevered dreams of those pearly gates. What did Wagner see when he composed? What inspired him? And what lead him to spew hate while also birthing so much aural beauty, bequeathing to us an unrivaled output of operatic art that will last as long as human beings have ears to listen to his work. There’s something both ominous and serene about his best pieces, moods that swoon to an emotional climax before bringing the listener back down from heaven (or up from hell) to solid ground where the world lays itself out before us in all its mysterious glory. His is the stuff of both the calm and the storm, the worldly and otherworldly.
But back to the music. I’ve left out his most recognizable pieces to the layman…The Lohengrin Bridal March – yes, the wedding march used at almost every wedding – and Ride of the Valkyries – used so devilishly in D. W. Griffin’s hate mongering Birth of a Nation and overused since then to death. And, yes, I’m trying to bias the vote by putting my pick at the top. But without further adieu…the nominees: Continue reading →