Ride of the Valkyries (Wagner 1851) [3:55]

I am reliably informed that a Valkyrie is a figment of the fecund imagination of those Norse people, being a female who decides who gets to live and who gets to die in battle, taking their chosen dead off to Valhalla for a festival of sex and beer, get to eat Sæhrímnir every night of their lives and generally prepare for the biggest battle the world has ever seen. It all must have sounded terribly attractive to your average Norse warrior for whom most of the above was probably a part of their daily lives anyway.

Richard Wagner - that racist old animal lover - took part of this story up with his interminable Der Ring des Nibelungen the second opera of which opens in act three with the Valkyrie-In-Chief Brünnhilde with her immortality removed for going against Odin and causing him a great huff. And no, I cannot hear the name 'Brünnhilde' without thinking of Bugs Bunny either...

Anyone who has ever sat through Der Ring des Nibelungen deserves some sort of an award for persevering in the face of adversity. I have sat through a condensed version, though. The full thing lasts for about fifteen hours, but the version I saw lasted a minute and (supposedly) lost none of the plot. I take that under advisement. If you can sit through it, there are some fantastic moments and this thumping tune is one of them. It's mostly arranged for brass and percussion with twittering strings and harps throughout. That's pretty much what I've done with it here. The range of the instruments is enormous - the last ten seconds of this piece took me as long to record as the rest of it (well...almost) as the notes start above the range of the Mellotron and drop well below the bottom end of it.

Instrumentation: Mellotrons M400 and Mk V playing

also sound effects, percussion instruments

FLAC version here.