Friday, March 30, 2018


Fifty-one years ago, I read Das Nibelungenlied for the very first time, and was amazed. I thought mediaeval literature was cosy, funny, vaguely dirty stories - Chaucer, in other words. This definitely isn't. Nor, although some of the names are the same, is it Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, which is mythical, symbolic, heavy. This is a bit more like Icelandic sagas. Whatever you do is going to bring disaster. Laughing today, weeping tomorrow. One death now, many more in a while. The poem tells you that, all the time. Kriemhilt is beautiful - so bold warriors are bound to lose their lives because of her - and you keep on listening because you want to know exactly how and exactly why and what they said as it happened.

It's old, and it's dark, and the main characters shine as they move through it. There is loyalty, there is vengeance, there are two women in competition with one another. Sounds pretty modern to me!

But judgement, as always, lies with the listeners. Come. Listen. Judge.

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