A voyage through the storm

A voyage through stormy sea means death by water.

However, getting buoyed up on the waves of music could mean redemption. For evidence, listen to Richard Wagner’s: The Flying Dutchman.

The German legend is at his best capturing the moods of the violent sea. What with different steams of tunes, and deep patterns, it brings forth the ebullience in action.

In his 1870 autobiography, “Mein Leben” Wagner elaborated on the inspiration behind this magnificent work. Back in 1839 he took his pregnant wife on a ship to London. The journey didn’t come smooth because of the heavy storm. His wife had a miscarriage midway.

Indeed, the voyage may have been the principal inspiration.

However, he had been greatly influenced by Heinrich Heine’s satirical novel of 1833 “ The Memoirs of Mister Von Schnabelewopski”. 

Heine’s work described the plight of a sea captain, who was cursed to sail forever after found guilty of blasphemy. Thanks to his satirical take, Heine’s presented the captain as a wandering Jew. In Wagner, it expressed the horrors when the sea erupted into violence.

The work has greatly influenced many later day musicians and writers.

Wilhelm Richard Wagner( 1813-1883) was a renowned composer, theatre director and polemicist. His operas earned him wide appreciation across Europe.  Wagner wrote most of his operas, unlike other musicians of his time, for stage performances.

They had a kind of romantic feel about them, earning him great fan following.  In so doing, alongside, he revolutionized operas, suffusing poetic, musical and visual and dramatic traits into them.  Over time, his later compositions had complex textures, endowed with rich harmonies and orchestration, critics say.

This helped further developing the western music; in the process, Wagner became one of its chief architects. One of his most noted works, Tristan und Isolde, marked the beginning of modern western classical music. However he is today well known for his operas or what later came to be known as “music dramas”.