By Guest Blogger Jeff Nytch
This morning when I woke up -- before I even had my first sip of coffee -- I went over to the piano and announced: "Today's sonority is..." and I played the climbing E-flat arpeggio that opens Das Rheingold.
And then the skies opened up.
Apparently, E-flat is the key for water -- whether it be the steady rains of San Francisco or the pulsing waters of the Rhine.
It's also the key of beginnings, for the opening bars of Rheingold -- 130-something bars of E-flat (the first piece of minimalism, I like to say) -- are more than a prelude to a vast operatic cycle. They are nothing short of the beginning of the world.
I'll write more about that after tonight's performance, but as a kick-off to the week I thought I'd link to the talk I gave last year at the Colorado Music Festival (which Taminophile also linked for us last week when he announced my guest appearance here). I reference that because it gets into this whole question of the scope of this cycle, and how for Wagner it was (in the words of Thomas Mann), "The combining of psychology and myth." Much more than political allegory or just a cool bit of Nordic-inspired folk story, the Ring is concerned with nothing less than the scope of creation and humanity's place in it.
(Here it is.)
Meanwhile, the rain pours on here today, blanketing the world in water and mist, as if to begin submerging us in the very waters of the Rhine, where shortly our story will begin...