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Symposium Review I
On the woodwinds, their instruments and the performance practice of the 1876 Bayreuth Festival
For the sake of authenticity, inquiry into an adequate instrumentarium has consistently maintained a key role in historically informed performance practice. The considerations outlined here concern accordingly-systematic research into the instruments of the woodwind section for a possible ›ideal-typic‹ performance of Richard Wagner’s opera cycle, The Ring of the Nibelung. For this purpose, general reference to the instrumentation of the first Festival Orchestra on the occasion of the premiere of the Ring in 1876 in Bayreuth is to be brought into question. The relevant details of the instrumentation, the woodwinds in particular, in the year of the premiere performance in 1876 will be outlined and highlighted initially. Subsequently, an alternative perspective on a historically informed woodwind section for Wagner’s Ring will be explored.
Translation: Jennifer Smyth