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Word Count: 3,360
The original aim of this paper was to encompass the bulk of Mythologys impact on the arts Before very long I realized that to cover such a vast area I would be treading dangerously close to a books length project I then decided to limit the topic to Mythology and its impact on music specifically classical Again this was an enormous field to limit to a short research paper After considerable deliberation I decided to focus primarily on the music of Richard Wagner 1813 - 1883 principally his Der Ring des Nibelungen or The Ring of the Nibelung The Nibelungenlied is a medieval German epic poem written in Middle High German in the early thirteenth century Its authorship is unknown The poem is a mixture of Norse and Teutonic Mythology concerning the early history of the kingdom of Burgundy There are several versions of basically the same story details are shaded but the end results are the same Wagner used material from The Nibelungenlied Song of the Nibelung and the Vollsunga Saga Saga of the Volsungs for the majority of his master work The Ring of the Nibelung a cycle of four operas-- Das Rheingold Die Walkure Siegfried and Gotterdammerung--was conceived in 1848 and completed about twenty-five years later Wagner began with the intention of writing the libretto of a single opera drawn from several myths about the race of the Volsungs and the Nibelungs treasure it was to be called Siegfrieds Death and its content primarilly corresponds to that of the present day Gotterdammerung Twilight of the Gods Between 1848 and 1853 before composing a single note of music Wagner wrote first Young Siegfried corresponding to the present day Siegfried and then Die Walkure and Rheingold By late 1853 composition of the cycle had begun with Das Rheingold By 1857 he had completed Die Walkure and two complete acts of Siegfried at which time he postponed work on the Ring for twelve years
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