Tune of the Day: Ride of the Valkyries
The “Ride of the Valkyries” is the popular name for the beginning of Act III of Die Walküre, the second of the four operas by Richard Wagner that comprise the cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung). The main theme of the ride, the leitmotif labelled “Walkürenritt”, was first written down by the German composer in 1851; the opera, however, only received its premiere in 1870. Together with the Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin, this is one of Wagner's best-known pieces.
The “Ride of The Valkyries” has been used to accompany moving pictures since the earliest days of Hollywood. Most notably, it has been used in a scene of Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 film Apocalypse Now where a squadron of helicopters attacks a Vietnamese village. Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore, interpreted by Robert Duvall, orders its use because “it scares the hell out of the slopes!”