Reading: William Kinderman — Wagner’s Parsifal

Last time I was performing in Parsifal, Laurence Dreyfus’ Wagner and the Erotic Impulse had just been published and was my and Dasniya’s reading during the rehearsals and performance. This time around in Bologna, I’d hoped to bring along William Kinderman’s Wagner’s Parsifal, part of Oxford University Press’ series Studies in Musical Genesis, Structure, and Interpretation. I waited, hoping it would arrive before our flight. It didn’t. So it was one of the stack of books I collected on my return (and for my profligacy have now banned myself from St George’s until at least April 2nd). I began reading it while ploughing through Dayal Patterson’s Black Metal, and got seriously stuck into it earlier in the week.

Much work (of which I also have to write) has kept me from blog, and I’m not going to write a massive exegesis on this, nonetheless, it’s a seriously well-written and researched work (aside from saying on p91 that the Flower Maidens are singing “Komm! holder Knabe!” in Act 1; that’d be Act 2, just before we begin to seriously plot our Act 3 pizza), which I would appreciate more if I remembered how to read music, knew my intervals, and all the rest.

Kinderman writes at length on Kundry, partly because Wagner himself did, and partly because as much as the work follows Parsifal, it also follows her. He writes that certain parts of her character and what happen to her can be seen as a crypto-anti-semiticism, or shaping her as either Jewish herself or a stand-in for Jewishness as it was represented in the late-19th century. I’d planned to write something on Kundry during Parsifal; it’s not going to happen, but perhaps to say, I was following a reading trail across various blogs, and came to Black Knights, Green Knights, Knights of Color All A-Round: Race and the Round Table, which is well-worth reading, not the least for a summary of how Mediaeval European and Arthurian knights were far from the white, Aryan nationalism they were pressed into service for by the time of Wagner.

William Kinderman — Wagner's Parsifal
William Kinderman — Wagner’s Parsifal