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The Rhinegold: Page 112
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“Water as a universal element of life, reminds us of our origin from Nature, an origin which we have in common with plants and animals. … water is the element of natural equality and freedom, the mirror of the golden age.” [142F-EOC: p. 276]

Wagner expresses this Feuerbachian concept of life’s origin the following way, his description surely a premonition of what would later become the musical Prelude to Rhinegold:

[Wagner imputed the following passage to Beethoven in this fictional piece] “[P. 41] ‘The instruments represent the rudimentary organs of Creation and Nature; what they express can never be clearly defined or put into words, for they reproduce the primitive feelings themselves, those feelings which issued from the chaos of the first Creation, [P. 42] when maybe there was not as yet one human being to take them up into his heart.” [353W-{11/40} A Pilgrimage to Beethoven: PW Vol. VII, p. 41-42]

And Heinrich Porges, Wagner’s secretary who recorded Wagner’s observations about the proper performance and understanding of the Ring during the rehearsals for its premier at Bayreuth in 1876, made the following remarks which presumably echo Wagner’s opinion:

[P. 7] “Regarding the orchestral prelude [to The Rhinegold] as a whole, built on a single E flat major triad, Wagner insisted that its huge crescendo should throughout create the impression of a phenomenon of nature developing quite of its own accord – so to say, an impersonal impression. … there must be no sense of a conscious purpose imposing itself. (…) It will be as though …, no [P. 8] longer conscious of the music, we had become immersed in the primal feelings of all living things and were peering directly into the inner workings of natural forces.” [862W-{6-8/76} WRR, p. 7-8]

[R.1: B]

And suddenly, as the orchestral prelude reaches its climax, the Rhinedaughter Woglinde introduces speech into the Ring:

Woglinde: [[ #4: ]] Weia! Waga! Welter, you wave, swirl round the cradle! Wagalaweia! wallala weiala weia!

 

[Wellgunde and Woglinde banter]

 

Flosshilde: (…) Heiala weia! High-spirited sisters!

 

Wellgunde: Flosshilde, swim! Woglinde’s fleeing: help me to catch your sleek sister!

 

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