I've encountered several musical love stories this week. To sum up:
- Damp, yet oddly thirsty, long-lost brother meets married, miserable sister; forbidden love stirs unquenchable passion (otherwise, the opera would end in a big hurry); chromatic, Germanic harmonies are encouraged to run amok; springtime breeze conveniently causes door to fly open; large "sword" not so coincidentally appears. Curtain falls on lovers, just when they stop talking and things get interesting. Adultery+Incest=Extra Points? [Wagner Die Walkure, Act I]
- Two ghosts still nagging (!) each other in a graveyard, misusing eternity to hash out former love; one is clearly "over the relationship," the other is still codependent; is there a ghost therapist in the house?; harmonies are elusive, sexy, French-ified. What does it all mean? [Debussy Fetes Galantes]
- Woman loves physician; physician in turn loves her parts (her esophagus, her epiglottis, etc.) but not her entirety; music is detached, jilted lover shows admirable knowledge of anatomy, tempered with healthy "move on" attitude (love all of me or nothing, you cad!). Love's a game. [Cole Porter "The Physician"]
-Various undisclosed persons make voyage to Cythera; orgy ensues; pianist plays many notes; 5-against-3 cross-rhythm indicates that people are too drunk to even sway together. Trills, spills, chills. However, seems relatively committment-free; how will they feel the next morning? Is this any way to build a relationship? What would Dr. Phil say? [Debussy L'Isle Joyeuse]
- Father confides in daughter; daughter disobeys father; father loves her so much that he punishes her with a really severe grounding: to languish on solitary mountain, ringed with fire, awaiting acned super-mensch Siegfried in a later installment; tender hug makes it all OK. Really cool special effects. [Wagner Die Walkure, Act III]
I'm not sure what lesson to draw from all this.