Richard Wagner's opera Das Rheingold is a milestone in the composer's outlput and in the history of music in general. It marked Wagner's return to operatic composition after a hiatus of five years, and signified his definitive break with earlier operatic conventions. it also represents a reconsideration of the whole question of dramatic-musical form, and the role of tonality in articulating this form. Warren Darcy traces here the genesis of Das Rheingold through the various textual and musical sketches and drafts to the full score, and also develops a theoretical framework within which the opera may be meaningfully analysed. Using Wagner's manuscripts as a point of departure, Darcy discusses the formal, harmonic, and linear
structure of the work. In so doing, he challenges a number of contemporary views about the opera, including those of Curt von Westernhagen and Carl Dahlhaus.
Readership: Students and scholars of 19th-century opera; Wagner scholars from non-musical areas - German studies, drama, literature, philosophy, philology.
Warren Darcy, Professor of Music Theory, Oberlin College Conservatory of Music
"'the most comprehensive study of the opera yet ... Darcy uses his work on the sources to describe the compositional process of the opera, but also as a springboard for a thoroughgoing analysis. This invaluable study necessarily grapples with minutiae and isn't for the faint-hearted.'
Barry Millington, BBC Music Magazine"
"'the most thorough account of the work yet to appear in print ... There are many fascinating details here showing Wagner's skill at honing his material towards a perfect final result. The form and layout of the book are impressively clear. D'Arcy's prose style is generally communicative, admirable in its adoption of clarity and concision rather than verbosity and academic élitist jargon ... the book has undoubted virtues and much valuable and fascinating information, drawing us closer than ever before to Wagner's compositional workbench.'
David Allenby, Wagner, September 1994"
"'No one should doubt that Darcy has performed prodigies of synthesis in bringing his vision of Das Rheingold to completion. The extensive transcriptions are invaluable, the analytical interpretations courageously consistent and clear. Darcy's Wagner is for those in search of all-inclusive certainties.'
Arnold Whittall, Music and Letters, Vol. 75, No. 4, Nov '94"
"there is much of value here - meticulous documentary research, original interpretative insight, perceptive musical analysis, and above all, an imaginative synthesis that links compositional genesis, drama, and music into a coherent view of the opera. Darcy is to be commended for the attention that he lavishes on the text of Rheingold. Darcy is well equipped, as both a historian and a musician, to handle the task of interpreting the drafts." - Patrick Mccreless, 19th Century Music
"Warren darcy's recent monograph on Das Rheingold...is the first full-length study of such source material to appear...a reference source for those interested in pursuing critical or analytical readings of individual passages from Das Rheingold or considering analytical issues in Wagner more generally." - Notes Dec 95