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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world.

Listening To Wagner's Ring With A Roadmap Of Sorts

I recently came across a steal. A friend on a social network posted that a recording was $6. That may seem normal for an mp3 release, or mildly cheap if you purchase an iTunes release for $9.99. But this particular recording was live from Bayreuth - the complete Ring der Nibelungen by Richard Wagner. Yes, all four operas.

The whole world has been celebrating the 200th anniversary of Wagner's birth this year (his birthday is May 22). Summer festivals have been playing his music, and several cycles of the Ring are programmed for companies this fall and winter.

While I actually own a cd set of the operas (and several individual recordings of the operas/orchestral selections), and have watched the cycle on PBS and in the Met HD broadcasts, I just couldn't pass this up. (The pricing has gone back, or corrected, to $90.99 for the set.)

Today as I was surfing the internet, I ran across a great diagram (above) for leitmotifs in the Ring. It doesn't credit the illustrator, and is a little sloppy - but quite accurate! I usually prefer to not have a visual when listening to music, perhaps just a musical score...but this chart is very impressive, and I plan to start listening with this aid.

John Clare is comfortable behind a microphone, streaming video or playing violin. A former broadcaster for NPR, John has previously worked with Voice of America, the Canadian Broadcast Corporation and stations in Kansas, Nevada, California, and Pennsylvania.