Saturday, 16 April 2011
The Ride of the Valkyries
In pre-Christian Teutonic religion the Valkyries, or heavenly maidens (literally "Choosers of the Slain"), were believed to hover invisibly above the battlefield, decide who was to live and who die, and hence the outcome of the battle, and gather up the souls of the slain. Half of the slain warriors were then transported to Valhalla (literally "Hall of the Slain") where they would spend much of their time feasting and drinking with the one-eyed father of the gods, Odin; while the other half were taken to the goddess Freyja's field of the after-life, known as Folkvangr.
The first movement of the third act of Richard Wagner's opera, Die Valkure (The Valkyrie), is here performed by the Vienna Philharmonic, conducted by Wilhelm Furtwangler.