Prelude to Lohengrin (for solo classical guitar) 5 pp

Richard Wagner
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page one of Prelude to Lohengrin   (for solo classical guitar)   5 pp

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Richard Wagner 1813 - 83

Music either stands by itself or it doesn’t, but generally the more you know about an interesting piece the more it is appreciated, and interest can be enhanced by theoretical insight. I’ve included chords in this transcription, and briefly described the sections, to elucidate the Prelude’s form and harmonic structure.

Wagner is renowned for modernising 19th century composition with the introduction of a tenuous chromaticism based on leitmotivs. (His great successor Richard Strauss once remarked, 'With Wagner music reached its summit. I am only a straggler.') Here he coalesces themes from the opera into a sparkling and perfectly shaped miniature. The Prelude shows his complete control of the musical forces created, and how arrestingly beautiful his style could be.

In my interpretation of the form I’ve found three themes, and most variations are accredited to the first of these. There was nothing much I could do with Section 12 except strum it or give up on the transcription, which I didn’t want to do as the piece only gets more charming.

So although it may never be played in concert, the transcription can be taken as an exercise or study, or simply enjoyed and the composing marvelled at.

Rod Whittle

Score ID
Richard Wagner
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
5 minutes
Solo instrument (Classical Guitar [notation])
Classical music

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