Thoughts and impressions of Philip O'Hara, public servant

More Wagner

Chap in the paper today claims that Wagner is the gift that keeps giving, and has been giving throughout this chaps life: sixty odd years. I want Wagner to give as much to me.

Wagner was covered by The Moral Maze, interestingly. I didn’t hear all of it but from what I heard it seems no one was concerned with the question of can actual music be anti-semiticĀ (rather than theĀ plots, the libretto, characters, etc.)? How would one go about constructing such an argument?



I’ve been trying to “crack” Opera again, specifically Wagner, and I think I’ve made some progress. You need to focus on the intensity of emotion, the sensuality, the relentless push as each wave of sound climbs and climbs. However, its not all like this, and I haven’t yet learnt what to make, or how to deal with, the more boring bits.

And another thing: the human voice, in operatic mode, doesn’t immediately strike me as a pleasure to listen to. I often find that it sounds forced, artificial, strained, and incomprehensible, even if it is an English opera. Where did this style of singing come from, and more importanly how can I train myself to appreciate it?


Men fear though…

Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth — more than ruin — more even than death…. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.

Bertrand Russell.

We might ask of him: how can a man think so clearly yet act so obscurely?