Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Das Rheingold

More Wagner? Yes, there's no getting away from him. But this is only the fleetingest of minor observations, really. It's to do with the musical descent into the underworld at the end of the second scene:
An orchestral interlude follows that "paints" the descent of Loge and Wotan into Nibelheim. As the orchestra fades, it gives way to a choir of 18 tuned anvils (indicated in the score with specific size, quantity and pitch) beating out the dotted rhythm of the Nibelung theme to give a stark depiction of the toiling of the enslaved dwarves.
The thing is, I've yet to hear a recording of this moment that articulates a stark sense of the toiling of the enslaved dwarves. Every version I've heard sounds like sleighbells, and that's far from stark. I'm starting to think the problem is not with the recordings I've heard, but with the original scoring.

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