The Myth and the Music With 200 music examples
‘This enthralling book is an examination – deep analysis might be the word – of Wagner and his great work in terms not of politics or merely musical values, but in those of the depth psychology which it is simplest to call “post-Jungian”. In a short review, one can hardly do justice to the patience and thoroughness of Professor Donington’s analysis, not only of the principal characters but of the enormous structure of symbol, irony and illusion drawn from the primordial myths, and relating it to the music which is so powerful and direct a language. Professor Donington takes us through the familiar scenes with the fresh enthusiasm of one who makes scales fall from our eyes.’ Philip Hope-Wallace, in the Guardian. It was with this concise but fulsome review that Wagner’s ‘Ring’ and its Symbols was welcomed when it first appeared, and it has remained unquestionably a classic of Wagnerian scholarship. Donington takes us through the four operas that make up this magnum opus – The Rhinegold, The Valkyrie, Siegfried, Götterdämmerung – uncovering the relationships (actual, psychological and mythical) which propel forward this tense and powerful story. Not only that, Donington has carefully interwoven the leitmotifs that underpin each of the major characters: the Spear authority of Wotan, the Curse of Alberich, the love themes of Siegmund and Sieglinde, the fire and the cunning of Loge, the huge strides of the giants Fasolt and Fafner and many more. In fact, this book was made for audio presentation but has had to wait for decades this to become realised! In print, Donington placed the leitmotifs in piano score at the back of the book, indicating them with numbers in the main narrative. Here, in this recording, they are played on the piano in situ. When he discusses ‘redemption’, or ‘destiny’ or when Mime the smith, or ‘Tarnhelm’, the magic helmet – the leitmotifs are played. As a result, this recording is a perfect way to get to know the ‘Ring’ and its motifs in highly detailed way. Of course, underlying it all, is Donington’s special contribution to Wagnerian scholarship: his Jungian analysis. The underlying psychological motivations, the animus and anima, the archetypes, the shadow are presented by Donington through a Jungian prism. This, in conjunction with the music detail, makes for a remarkably rich and absorbing audiobook. It is read – and played – by Michael Lunts, the actor and musician who has made a special feature of presenting, in the UK and worldwide – one-man shows on composers such as Schubert, Liszt and Chopin. PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.