Tonight was the final class of the 10-week Graham School Wagner Ring Cycle lectures. It’s been a great run – the professor is a really engaging lecturer who peppers his classes with lots of videos and demonstrations on the pianos. We learnt not just about Wagner and his operas, but also looked at the various composers who influenced Wagner (e.g. Beethoven and his Symphonie Fantastique and Symphony No. 9), the composers influenced by Wagner (e.g. Mahler, Strauss), and the composers who veered distinctly away from Wagner (e.g. Stravinsky). Along the way, we also learnt about the great composers and what makes their taped performances so incredible (e.g. Solti’s Golden Ring and Herbert von Karajan’s conducting of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 with the Berlin Philarmonic).
To wrap up the class, tonight over some wine and cheese that everyone brought to share, we zipped through the entire Levine Ring Cycle in 3 hours. Not quite as succinct as Anna Russell, but a most fitting end to the lecture series. 🙂