THE POWER OF MYTH

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dulcinea
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THE POWER OF MYTH

Post by dulcinea » Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:05 pm

Classical mythology has inspired abundant music, such as the set of symphonies that D v Dittersdorf wrote about episodes of METAMORPHOSES.
How about Nordic Germanic mythology? Has Wagner inspired other composers to explore the habitat of Valhalla?
Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord! Alleluya!

Ted Quanrud
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Re: THE POWER OF MYTH

Post by Ted Quanrud » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:00 pm

Hi Dulcinea --

It depends on one's understanding of "mythology." Many believe the Judeo-Christian scriptures to be as mythological as the Bhagavad-Gita or the Elder Edda. Certainly classical mythology has long played a role in classical music --the French baroque composers has a field day with the classics, especially if they dealt with nymphs and shepherds and their implied activities.

Offhand, I can't think of anyone since Wagner who utilized the Norse myths, and Wagner himself certainly took liberties with them. Gotterdammerung is certainly impressive, but slight when compared to Ragnarok as described in the Eddas.

jbuck919
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Re: THE POWER OF MYTH

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:34 pm

I generally agree with Ted, but when dulcinea mentioned Dittersdorf it reminded me again of our late member Ralph Stein, who had what seemed to be a running joke about that composer (such as mentioning the Dittersdorf Department at Juilliard), but as it turns out actually took him seriously as a composer. I didn't know he wrote anything instrumental based on the Metamorphoses, which is hard to envision. (They are a set of excellent short poems based on myths about people in the ancient world who underwent often frightening changes, and Ovid himself knew that they were just that, myths.) Did Haydn know that Genesis is mythological when he wrote The Creation? Does it matter?

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John F
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Re: THE POWER OF MYTH

Post by John F » Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:28 pm

The opera "Sigurd" by the French composer Ernest Reyer is based on the same story from the "Nibelungenlied" as Wagner's "Götterdämmerung." It was composed in the mid-1860s, after Wagner had written his libretto but before he had composed any of the music. I wouldn't be surprised if other composers have used Norse mythology as a source for their operas, but I don't know any who have.
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jserraglio
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Re: THE POWER OF MYTH

Post by jserraglio » Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:04 am

Carl Nielsen: Saga-Drom - Icelandic Njal's Saga. In wide release.

Jón Leifs (1899-1968) composed a number of works based on Icelandic myth and folklore. BIS issued a whole series dedicated to this very interesting composer..

John F
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Re: THE POWER OF MYTH

Post by John F » Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:26 am

If we're including short pieces with no words or program, then I suppose Sibelius's "En Saga" might qualify. But it's not the kind of piece dulcinea is asking about, relating to "Nordic German mythology." Neither are Sibelius's many works based on Finnish mythology, nor I suppose Jón Leifs' inspired by Icelandic myth. None of these local mythologies, including the German, ever attained anything like the widespread currency and influence of Greek/Roman myth, but rather have been associated with nationalistic feelings and movements.
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jserraglio
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Re: THE POWER OF MYTH

Post by jserraglio » Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:58 am

Did not Dulcimea open the door by referring to Dittersdorf's Metamorphoses before posing her question? Was that from a Germanic or Nordic source? Please advise. Would not want to be found guilty of not being German[e]!

jbuck919
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Re: THE POWER OF MYTH

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:26 am

jserraglio wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:58 am
Did not Dulcimea open the door by referring to Dittersdorf's Metamorphoses before posing her question? Was that from a Germanic or Nordic source? Please advise. Would not want to be found guilty of not being German[e]!
I think what dulcea meant was that Greek/Roman mythology is well represented in music without our needing to get into it, which so far we have not. She just happened, in her fashion, to choose a very arcane example of it, instead of say, Orfeo or Idomeneo. I believe she was really looking for examples of Nordic myth in music.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

jserraglio
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Re: THE POWER OF MYTH

Post by jserraglio » Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:42 am

Dulcinea asked for examples of "Nordic Germanic mythology" in post-Wagnerian music. Now I am informed that Icelandic is un-Germanic and Icelandic mythology un-Nordic. Wow!
Last edited by jserraglio on Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

jbuck919
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Re: THE POWER OF MYTH

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:07 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:42 am
Dulcinea asked for examples of "Nordic Germanic mythology" in post-Wagnerian music. So, pray tell, when did Icelandic cease being Germanic? And when did Icelandic mythogy become un-Nordic? Beats the hell outta me, but unless forced to, I yield to no one when it comes to pedantic hairsplitting.
I have more than eight times your posts and have been back and forth with dulcinea, who was literally born two days before me, many times. Trust me on this one, for more reasons than one, not all of which I care to share, I get her mind. This is not a fight worth fighting. (Why the hell are you so feisty recently, anyway?)

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

John F
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Re: THE POWER OF MYTH

Post by John F » Mon Sep 25, 2017 1:43 pm

If we rephrase dulcinea's question, "Has Snorri Sturluson inspired other composers than Wagner" etc. etc., then at best the answer would be "not much if at all." But yes, major sources for Wagner's Ring were Icelandic. According to Arni Björnsson, 80% of Wagner’s motifs are Icelandic, 5% are German, and most of the remaining 15% are shared, appearing in both the Icelandic and German sources.

https://nancymariebrown.blogspot.com/20 ... eland.html
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dulcinea
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Re: THE POWER OF MYTH

Post by dulcinea » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:10 pm

Danke for your replies.
I said Norse Germanic mythology because of Wagner; it's really a revelation to find out that the Ring cycle was inspired by sources from Iceland.
Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord! Alleluya!

jserraglio
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Re: THE POWER OF MYTH

Post by jserraglio » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:36 pm

dulcinea wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:10 pm
Danke for your replies.
I said Norse Germanic mythology because of Wagner; it's really a revelation to find out that the Ring cycle was inspired by sources from Iceland.
Revelation for me too. Did not know that.
BTW, like your posts because of the wide latitude they give us to respond.

diegobueno
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Re: THE POWER OF MYTH

Post by diegobueno » Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:28 am

One of the problems with German mythology as a musical subject is that Wagner's influence was so all-pervasive that no composer after him could use it except as a commentary or parody on Wagner.

One could mention Die lustigen Nibelungen by Oskar Straus (1904), which falls in the parody category.

Also The Magic Knight by Victor Herbert (1906), which was a parody of Lohengrin.

There are at least two other operatic versions of the Nibelungenlied from the 19th century, both of them completely unknown today.
Die Nibelungen by Josef Piber (b. 1857)
Die Nibelungen (1854) by Heinrich Dorn, 1804-1892.

And Albert Lortzing beat Wagner to the Meistersinger punch by writing Hans Sachs in 1840 (and yes, guys, I'm aware that Hans Sachs is not a mythological character; I include it here as another example of an alternative setting of Wagnerian subject matter).
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