Last night at dinner, Mr. Hare engaged in an interesting discussion on Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg. A Wagner opera and comedy based on an actual 16th century character named Hans Sachs who was a poet and Shoemaker. Now you see where I am going with this.
Anyway...the story goes, Goldsmith, Veit Pogner offers his daughters hand in marriage to the winner of the St. Johns day feast singing competition. Entrants must be master craftsmen in their field and have notable singing skills. First act (2hrs), revolves around Walther, a young knight who is obviously in love with Eva, the prize. Unfortunately the marker of the competition is not feeling Walthers vocals and he loses.
In act two (another two hours) town clerk, Beckmesser has a go but his efforts near cause a riot with which Wagner channels the philosopher Schopenhauer, whom he has recently read, where he cites Wahn (illusion, madness, folly, self deception) or self delusion driving men to behave in ways that are actually destroying them. In this act our shoemaker, whilst helping Beckmesser to perfect his song bangs a hammer on the shoe last of the shoes he is making for Beckmesser every time Beckmesser makes a mistake. There are so many mistakes the shoes are finished before the song is perfected. In his frustration Beckmesser incites said riot. The cobblers hammer is the time piece for this act.
Act three, our shoeman, poet and hero, Hans Sachs, invoking Schopenhauer's very description of a noble man - "We always picture a very noble character to ourselves as having a certain trace of silent sadness... It is a consciousness that has resulted from knowledge of the vanity of all achievements and of the suffering of all life, not merely of one's own."(The World as Will and Representation) lays aside his own sexual desires for Eva to help Walther perform the song that will win him his true love.
So the moral of the story is that when the stuff hits the fan, you can always trust a shoeman to do the right thing.
Here is Herbert Von Karajan conducting the Berlin Philharmonic in it's first tour of Japan performing the prelude to the first act in 1957.
2 hours ago