Bleeding Chunks of Wagner

In my last post, I talked about digital only releases. One thing I didn’t mention is that, when it comes to compilations, you can take much bigger risks with a digital-only product. Here’s one we might not have dared put out on CD. It’s a collection of Wagner highlights.

Bleeding Chunks

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You’ll sometimes hear people use the term “bleeding chunks” to describe excerpts of operas, played out of context. The phrase was coined by Sir Donald Tovey in his 1935 Essays on Musical Analysis Vol. II (1935) p.71, where he wrote, “Defects of form are not a justifiable ground for  criticism from listeners who profess to enjoy the bleeding chunks of butcher’s meat chopped from Wagner’s operas and served up on Wagner nights as Waldweben and Walkürenritt“*.

It’s a striking image, but it’s also an ad hominem argument. He’s not addressing the issue, he’s addressing the people, and he’s wrong. There’s nothing unsophisticated about wanting to hear all the best bits. You might even call it elitist.

We like Wagner’s music, and we have a sense fun, so we put all the best bits on this album, which we’ll be listening to as we delight in the irony that Sir Donald’s essay has been misquoted, relieved of its context (the programme-notes for Bruckner 4), reduced to a soundbite, and, finally, turned into a compilation. We hope you enjoy it.

You can download Bleeding Chunks of Wagner from ClassicsOnlineiTunes and Amazon today.

* Oxford Dictionary of Music, (1994) p. 98

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