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An Introduction To... Wagner: The Ring of…
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An Introduction To... Wagner: The Ring of the Nibelung (Opera Explained)

by Stephen Johnson

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I really wish classical music scholar Bill McGlaughlin would release his syndicated radio shows in audiobook form. Each time I hear another attempt to explain some great piece of music, I pine for the elegance and style of McGlaughlin's deconstructions of a piece, a theme, or a musical style.

Like McGlaughlin, Stephen Johnson intersperses narrative with musical samples in talking about Richard Wagner's epic 4-opera The Ring of the Nibelung. Johnson, however, gives a more superficial treatment, mostly sticking to a level of detail typically found in program notes. The awesomeness of the material virtually stands on its own. Unfortunately, for all but the very new listener, Johnson adds little in his "explanation" of the story outside of a synopsis of the story line and some examples of "leitmotif" musical device employed throughout by Wagner. ( )
  JeffV | May 9, 2013 |
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