Saturday 24 September 2005

Redemption through Love

I've been listening to bits of The Ring again, having reviewed the entire thing earlier this year for Music and Vision. One snippet was the Immolation scene recorded by Frieda Leider in 1927. She has a wonderfully lyric voice, with fabulous shapely phrasing so you start to wonder how big her voice really was. Is has that sort of pre-war focus which makes it tricky to assess; in real live did she sound like Anne Evans or Kirsten Flagstad? Perhaps we'll never know, but her live records do give you the impression that she did not quite have the sheer power of Flagstad and Nilson.

The scene reminded me again how, for me, one of the most moving parts of the entire Tetralogy is not a vocal scene, but the orchestral section after Brunnhilde has stopped singing when the Rhine innundates the stage. The Rhinemaidens' theme in the orchestra is counterpointed with other themes from the cycle, providing almost a potted summation of the Ring. I find the moment when the 'Redemption through Love' theme returns most magical.

We're off to see La Fanciulla del West tonight at Covent Garden; more redemption through love. After all, the opera is about a barmaid who loves a bandit.

I've been updating my own web site ( so it now has all the correct news. It was woefully out of date. Having been experimenting with Audioblog, the 1st 4 audio blog tracks are now published on the site here.

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