Frodo v. Siegfried

NLT highlights this positive review of The Children of Hurin, a prequel to the Lord of the Rings put together by Christopher Tolkien from his father's notes. Looks good, although I was more taken by the articles linked at the bottom of the page. Including this on Tolkein as the anti-Wagner. I hadn't been able to put words to my objection to Wagner in discussing him with Mr. W., but this does nicely:
"People don't like music; they just like the way it sounds," quipped the English conductor Sir Thomas Beecham. Beethoven's musical devices are stations along a journey which has a goal. Wagner turned these musical devices into the haunted caves and dells of a world in which the listener wanders capriciously, abandoning all sense of time and direction. Audiences never liked Wagner's music, but they loved the way it sounded. Musical effects in Beethoven, however eccentric, are subordinate to the long-range musical goal. In Wagner, musical effects are capricious events.

Actually, I'm not a great fan of Beethoven, either! Too much tub-thumping in all those Romantics. But Wagner:
Wagner announced the death of the old order of aristocracy and Church, of order and rules. Not only was the old order dying, but also it deserved to die, the victim of its inherent flaws. As the old order died a New Man would replace the servile creatures of the old laws, and a New Art would become the New Man's religion. The New Man would be fearless, sensual, unconstrained, and could make the world according to his will. Wagner's dictum that the sources of Western civilization had failed was not only entirely correct, but also numbingly obvious to anyone who lived through the upheavals of 1848. But how should one respond to this? Wagner had a seductive answer: become your own god!
The author suggests The Lord of the Rings was written to destroy Wagner and sets out the plot parallels in a chart. He also reveals (maybe not to you, but to musically ignorant me) that Wagner was the first "rock star" --by an order of magnitude the Beatles could only dream of.