Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The greatest Thing ever written

Richard Wagner's Thing cycle is on in Melbourne at the moment, apparently. I only learned because the other day I spoke to Mum on the phone and she asked me when the thing was on and I said "I don't know, I think it's next year", and she told me it was on in a few days and it turned out she was right though of course it makes me wonder why she asked when it was on if she already knew anyway.

Of course, Wagner's Thing is one of the most famous pieces of music ever written, which is why most people today have never heard of it and those who have, like me, probably don't plan to do anything about it anyway. The Thing cycle is so named because it's about a thing. It starts on a river somewhere where some people or maybe just some things are swimming about a thing, which turns out to be the thing that the whole cycle is about, but at this moment it's just a thing, and a elf of pixie or dwarf or somesuch comes along and steals the thing from the other things that are doing things about the thing. Clear so far?

There's a lot of song and dance about the thing*, including up in heaven or somewhere, and a bunch of Valkyries (I should explain, for those who wish to know, Valkyries are I'm not sure) go for a ride. I don't know why they go for a ride but it's something to do with the thing. Then heaven burns down, which has something to do with the thing as well but I wouldn't really know because although I have listened to bits of the Thing I've never listened to the thing all the way through, but it's all very exciting, apparently. Also, incest.

So you can see why a lot of people make quite a thing about the Thing. The Thing has been performed all over the world for over a century,which is certainly something, though I'm not sure what. After all, just compare the historical legacy of Wagner's Thing with the work of a contemporary of his, The Huh, by Someone-or-other. See? Nobody has ever heard The Huh or even knows who Someone-or-other is. And if it has been maliciously suggested from time to time by uncultivated parties that "Wagner's music is better than it sounds", then at least we can say that, and not "Wagner's music isn't better than it doesn't sound", which is what people say about poor old Someone-or-other today. So there is that. Which takes us back again to the thing. Which was.... what was I talking about again?

Ladies and gentlemen, Richard Wagner's Thing.

*Subsequently, critics have made a lot of song and dance about this lot of song and dance.

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