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- DescriptionThe Gesamtkunstwerk ('total work of art'), once a key concept in Wagner studies, has become problematic. This book sheds light on this conundrum by first tracing the development of the concept in the 19th century through selected examples, some of which include combinations of different art forms. It then focuses on the culmination of the Gesamtkunstwerk in Wagner's theories and in the practice of his late music dramas, of which Der Ring des Nibelungen is the most complete representation. Finally, the book contrasts the view of the Ring as a fusion of dramatic text and music with the 20th century trend towards Deconstruction in Wagnerian productions and the importance of Regie. Against this trend a case is made here for a fresh critical approach and a reconsideration of the nature and basis for the fundamental unity which has hitherto been widely perceived in Wagner's Ring. Approaches through Leitmotiv alone are longer acceptable. However, in conjunction with ather principle, Moment, which Wagner insisted on combining with Motive, these can be ingeniously 'staged' and steered to dramatic ends by means of musical dynamics and expressive devices such as accumulation. Analysis of the two Erda scenes demonstrates how this complex combination of resources acts as a powerful means of fusion of the musical and dramatic elements in the Ring and confirms its status as a Gesamtkunstwerk.
- Author BiographyProfessor Hilda Meldrum Brown, Emeritus Professor of German at the University of Oxford, is internationally known for her work on Heinrich von Kleist. She has published widely on German literary topics from Goethe to Christa Wolf. Her research has for some years had a strong interdisciplinary bias and involves studying connections between literature, drama, music, the visual arts, especially in the field of German Romanticism and Richard Wagner. Her new book on the Gesamtkunstwerk and Richard Wagner combines a number of these areas of research and has been supported by The Leverhulme Trust (Emeritus Research Fellowship) and a Hawthornden Fellowship at The International Retreat for Writers.
- Author(s)Hilda Meldrum Brown
- PublisherOxford University Press
- Date of Publication14/04/2016
- SubjectMusic & Dance
- Place of PublicationOxford
- Country of PublicationUnited Kingdom
- ImprintOxford University Press
- Content NoteNumerous black-and-white halftones; 4-pp colour plates section
- Weight590 g
- Width162 mm
- Height241 mm
- Spine22 mm
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