Götterdämmerung – The Beginning of the End of the Ring

Götterdämmerung – The Beginning of the End of the Ring

A talk on the prologue to Act 1 of the music-drama

Ian MacLennan

Monday 14th December




Ian’s musical education started with an aural test in Primary 3 in Aberdeen (at the age of 7) which was carried out by Robert Hunter, who was his class music teacher.  Ian was able to pass the test sufficiently well to be sent to see Mr. Willox to start violin lessons.   Ian had no idea as to what that might entail (and wasn’t asked for his views on the matter!) and continues to be pleasantly surprised by his violin playing to the present day.   Mr. Hunter swapped class teaching to become the head of music at BBC Scotland.  Ian does not think these important events are in any way connected!


Ian’s love of music and the violin continued, and he was accepted for the Performers’ Course at the RSAMD (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland).  He enjoyed his time at College, but firsthand experience of the musical profession made him wary and after 2 years, he left College and trained as a solicitor.  He was a practising solicitor for 37 years.


He never lost his interest in playing orchestral and chamber music as well as listening to music.  From his teenage years he has always had an interest in opera and the works of Richard Wagner.

Götterdämmerung as a ‘music drama’ is a true epic in scale and ambition.   As the curtain rises the opera begins with a 30 minute ‘Prologue’   Here Wagner sets out for us all the main  elements which will lead finally to the tumultuous ending of the opera and the whole ‘Ring’ cycle six or so hours later.

Ian will look at these elements and their musical components before settling us all down to listen to the musical results from the beginning of the opera to when Siegfried reaches the Rhine (or as far as we can get!)