A simple E flat major chord, austere and unchanging, inaudible up until now but no doubt present since all eternity. Scarcely perceptible at first, the sound unfurls, twisting over and under waves and currents; the breakers, “rolling the reflected heavens, blended in a solemn and mystical way, the all-powerful chords of their rich harmonies” (Baudelaire, A Former Life): It may be the Rhine, but it is above all the world captured in both its perpetual motion and its permanence. It was enough for Wagner to maintain this chord for the first 137 bars of the work to recreate the world before us and evoke its eternity and its metamorphoses. At the same time, out of this fixed chord –which by nature is fundamental—all music seems to originate. “No one has ever composed like this”, wrote Wagner, both happy yet terrified, to his friend Franz Liszt.