New Edition of Wagner’s Ring Cycle

Available from Penguin Classics, 5th April 2018

I have planned a spring of Wagner. Next April sees the launch of a new translation of Richard Wagner’s masterpiece. Unquestionably the Game of Thrones of its day, Wagner’s Ring Cycle is without compare. I pre-ordered this 600 page bugger some months ago, and the delivery date is prominently displayed in our engine room.

But today, two further reasons to grab some Wagner. It turns out that the favourite philosopher of every computer science student, Nietzsche, was also a huge fan. Indeed the two became friends, and N wrote extensively about Wagner’s works.

Second, and more surprisingly, it turns out that Wagnerian Rock is actually a real genre. Defined by the God of operatic rock, Jim Steinman, to cover almost anything he did with Meatloaf and Bonnie Tyler.

Not only were their albums my 1980s soundtrack, but I have always been drawn to operatic rock. Pink Floyd’s The Wall, any solo stuff by Roger Waters, and almost any concept albums that develop a narrative such as the Ninth Wave song sequence on The Hounds of Love. It turns out that I need a story in my music and didn’t know it.

These coincidences and overlaps are intriguing. I’ll be writing about all of this in more detail in the spring.