Wanderer Motif and "Magic Sleep".

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Wanderer Motif and "Magic Sleep".

Postby WOLRAM » Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:33 am

I note that there is a suggestion of a connection between the Wanderer Motif (112) and several of Loge's motifs, but I would suggest that there is a stronger link to the "Magic Sleep" motif (97).
I had first assumed this from the general feel of the music, but comparing the melodic lines is also interesting. If the Wanderer motif is transposed up by one semitone, then the first four notes are C, B flat, B, A, compared with C, B, B flat, A from the "Magic Sleep" motif, in other words identical if the second and third notes are switched. There is also a similar feel to the chords, tempo and rhythm.
In the context of this website, the connection would seem logical, as after Brunhilde falls into "Magic Sleep" (or Wotan's unconscious goes to sleep), Wotan is transformed into the Wanderer, and is more at ease with himself. Once Brunhilde is awakened, the Wandererer does not make any further appearances.
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Re: Wanderer Motif and "Magic Sleep".

Postby WOLRAM » Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:57 pm

Since posting the message above, I've had some further thoughts and I think I can see why the chords of "Magic Sleep" have a similar feel to the "Wanderer" motif. In the Magic sleep theme, there are two sequences of descending parallel major chords, C, B, B flat, then E, E flat, D (more or less), which is unusual. The Wanderer theme consists of a sequence of perfect major cadences (more of less), each a semitone lower than the previous one. If the "Wanderer" is transposed up by one semitone, then chords 1, 3 and 5 would be the same as chords 1, 2 and 3 from "Magic Sleep". In addition, the third chord of both themes is B flat, and the progression of B flat to E is present in both themes (although in "Magic Sleep" there are a couple of chords in between). I find it hard to believe that this can all be co-incidence, particularly given the logical connection between Brunhilde's Magic sleep, and the Wotan's transformation into the Wanderer. Do you agree?
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Re: Wanderer Motif and "Magic Sleep".

Postby alberich00 » Thu Nov 07, 2013 3:02 pm

Dear Wolram:

Sorry for the delay. I'm tied up with mom's (92 and 1/2 year's old, and ailing) issues 24/7 now and can only get back to wagnerheim.com once every several days.

I can't quite recall, but didn't Deryck Cooke, in his analysis of the motifs of the "Ring," link the Wanderer Motif #112 with the Magic Sleep Motif? I honestly can't remember. My music consultant, Dr. Dunning, makes a strong case for its origin in #30b, the second half of the motif he coined "Godhead Lost," to which Fafner describes how the gods will lose their power and immortality without Freia's golden apples of eternal youth. I understand the points you make above but since I can't read music I can only listen to these respective motifs one at a time and try to make a subjective comparison. You are absolutely right that both the Wanderer and Magic Sleep Motifs convey somewhat similar musical moods. There is a stately awe in both of them. Cooke also pointed out that the Magic Sleep Motif incorporates some of the harmony from the Ring Motif #19.

The conceptual link between Wotan's status as Wanderer and the magical sleep into which he plunges his daughter Bruennhilde as punishment is clear. Wotan, who on one view is a personification of Feuerbach's notion of collective, historical man as the model for man's concept of godhead, by wandering the earth (Erda) seeking knowledge provides us with an allegorical representation of the historical process whereby collective man, through his experience of the earth over time, advanced in knowledge both of nature and of himself. It is precisely this knowledge, obtained from her mother Erda (knowledge which includes the inevitability of Alberich's victory over the gods, i.e., science's victory over religious faith), which Wotan confesses to Bruennhilde, their daughter, and thereby represses into his unconscious mind. Putting her to sleep is another way of expressing the fact that the knowledge, for which she is repository, is unconscious knowledge, only to be awoken by the artist-hero Siegfried. In this sense both of the Wanderer motifs, #112 and #113, are conceptually linked with Bruennhilde's Magic Sleep.

I am unable to do it, but what advanced "Ring" study really needs is a thorough, comprehensive reassessment of all of the "Ring" music, and particularly the motifs, their elaboration over time, their musical interrelations, and their association, over time, with concepts, images, feelings, etc. Cooke's was so far as I know the first attempt at a complete musicological analysis of the motifs' generation and interrelations, but it had various flaws which Dr. Allen Dunning tried to correct. This perhaps should be a collective effort of the world's top musicologists dedicated to Wagner.

You can also see, of course, the conceptual basis for Allen Dunning's link of #30b with the Magic Sleep. Wotan himself has announced that Bruennhilde is losing her godhead, and the magic sleep to which he subjects her is an expression of this, a concept also elaborated by Fafner when he described how the gods would go down to destruction if the Giants take Freia from them. Freia's golden apples, of course, represent the essence of religious belief, that the gods transcend the laws of time and space, of nature (Erda), and are immortal. By granting his daughter Bruennhilde to Siegfried, Wotan's longed-for hero and replacement, the secular, mortal artist-hero, Wotan is already accepting the end of religious faith and its replacement by secular art, the end of the gods' immortality, as it were.

Your friend from Wagnerheim,

Paul
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