Ride of the Valkyries

Ride of the Valkyries

Most famous use of this composition was in the film Apocalypse Now and The Birth of a Nation.

Ride of the Valkyries is an orchestral piece of classical music, that was composed by Richard Wagner in 1856.

Ride of the Valkyries is probably Wagner’s most famous piece of music. The inspiration for this music was the Norse legend of the Valkyries. Numbering 9 these were daughters of Erda and Wotan. They descended upon battlefields to take away the souls of warriors to Valhalla. Their leader was Brunhilde, and the other 8 were Gerhilde, Helmwige Waltraute, Schwertleite, Ortlinde, Siegrune, Grimgerde and Rossweisse.

This piece is noticably in 3 time, with a moderate tempo, and begins with a swelling mass of strings, before launching into the main theme. Wagner makes good use of the whole orchestra, using it as sections rather than focusing so much on individual instruments.. The main theme involves strong brass parts, with harmony provided by wind and strings. This theme has a strong, martial feel to it; one of warriors riding out to battle, and it is this that makes it so appropriate in Apocalypse Now. When the main them recurs it is further strengthened by use of percusssion.

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