Essay on The Nibelungenlied

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The Nibelungenlied

The original aim of this paper was to encompass the bulk of Mythology's impact on the arts. Before very long I realized that to cover such a vast area, I would be treading dangerously close to a book's length project. I then decided to limit the topic to Mythology and its impact on music, specifically classical. Again, this was an enormous field to limit to a short research paper. After considerable deliberation I decided to focus primarily on the music of Richard Wagner (1813 - 1883), principally his "Der Ring des Nibelungen", or, The Ring of the Nibelung. The Nibelungenlied is a medieval German epic poem, written in Middle High German in the early thirteenth century. Its authorship is unknown. The poem is
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In 1869 he returned to Siegfried and Gotterdammerung. By 1874 he was completed and the first production of the entire cycle was held in Bayreuth, Germany in 1876. Without a doubt, Richard Wagner transformed the existing myth into something distinctly his own. With his execution, The Nibelungenlied became a vehicle for the fervor of nationalism thriving during that period. Here was a story glorifying German honor and pride, again, at a time in history when nationalism was at its peak. Essentially, Wagner became the voice of a very proud German people. As history and myth alike have proven, pride can be, and usually is a destructive force when taken to extremes. The eighty or so years of German history following this period may be the best example of this the world has ever seen. Before discussing the myth and the operas, let us examine the reasons behind this unprecedented work. Why did Wagner feel the need to elaborate on the Saga? What did he hope to achieve? Where did it all begin. . . . ? Like many artists, Wagner was greatly influenced by Mythology. The majority of his other works were based, at least in part, on famous legends. Der Fliegende Hollander ( The Flying Dutchman) is based on the Norse myth concerning the doomed ship and its crew, destined to sail endlessly never

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