Wagner: Die Walkure
Despite his huge line-up of instruments Wagner uses his orchestra to create some of music's most transfixing sounds. Stephen Johnson descends to the orchestra pit to explore how.
With its massive line-up of instruments, Wagner's orchestra for Die Walkure should by rights have been a recipe for nothing but gluttony. But with the skill of a watercolourist Wagner used it brilliantly to convey the subtlest of emotions. Stephen Johnson descends to the orchestra pit and uncovers the secrets of the composer's orchestral writing. En route he explores how this opera revolutionary marshalled the likes of Wagner tubas, six harps and a medieval bugle horn to create some of the most transfixing musical sounds ever produced.