A+ a-
Wagnerheim Logo
Wagnerheim Bookmark System
The Valkyrie: Page 314
Go back a page
314
Go forward a page

Siegmund: (leaping up: #71) Siegmund I’m called (#57) and Siegmund I am: (#58b:) be witness this sword that I hold without flinching (:#58b)! (#21?) (#58b?:) Waelse promised that I’d find it one day in my time of greatest need [“hoechste Noth”] (:#58b?): I seize it now! (#18:) Highest need [“hoechster Noth”] of holiest love, consuming need [“Noth”] of yearning desire (:#18) burns brightly within my breast, urging me on to deed and death! (#57a:) Nothung [“Needful”]! Nothung (:#57a)! So I name you, sword! (#57a:) Nothung! Nothung (:#57a)! Fearsome steel! (#58b:) Show me your swordblade’s sharp-cutting edge (:#58b): come forth from the scabbard to me! (With a violent effort he draws the sword from the tree and shows it to Sieglinde, who is seized by astonishment and ecstasy. #57) Siegmund the Waelsung (#71) you see here, wife! (#71) As bridal gift he brings this sword (#71): for so he woos the most blessed of women (#71 vari?); from his enemy’s house he thus carries you off (#71). (#73:) Far from here follow me now, (#57) away to springtime’s smiling home (:#73): there Nothung the sword shall shield you, (#64) when Siegmund succumbs to your love.

 

Siegmund’s highest need (“Noth”), is the need of love in a loveless world. This is represented musically on the one hand by the recurrence of #58b, to which Wotan had sung: “Thus I salute the fortress [Valhalla], (#58b) safe from dread and dismay!,” expressing his grand idea of producing a race of heroes who could redeem Valhalla’s gods from their dread and dismay in the face of Alberich’s threat, by restoring lost innocence. This restoration of lost innocence is represented by #57ab (#57a being Erda’s octave drop on “Endet,” and #57b the original pre-fallen nature arpeggio #1). But most importantly this concept is embodied in the otherwise surprising appearance here of #18, the motif first associated with Woglinde’s warning that Alberich must renounce love in order to forge the ring of power. This is not a contradiction: the meaning of its recurrence here is that it is because of Alberich’s renunciation of love that Siegmund and Sieglinde have the highest need (Noth) of love, love that has been lost. As Wagner said, we weren’t aware of our innocence, and did not long to restore it, until we’d lost it, and the history of this longing is the history of man. I reproduce in full this previously cited extract again, because it is extremely important to our present discussion, and especially helpful in solving one of the greatest conundrums in Wagner exegesis, the question why Wagner employed #18 both to dramatize Alberich’s renunciation of love for power, and Siegmund’s renunciation of power for the sake of love:

“The state of Innocence could not come to men’s consciousness until they had lost it. This yearning back thereto, the struggle for its re-attainment, is the soul of the whole movement of civilisation since ever we learnt to know the men of legend and of history. It is the impulse to depart from a generality that seems hostile to us [the world, Erda’s knowledge, as known to us objectively, as Alberich sees the world], to arrive at egoistic satisfaction in ourselves … .“ [Alberich’s egoism being the hidden source of inspiration for man’s invention of the gods - #19>#20a – and for the belief that they offer man redemption from his earthly coils in immortality and transcendent love] [393W-{1-2/49} Jesus of Nazareth; PW Vol. VIII. p. 320]

Go back a page
314
Go forward a page
© 2011 Paul Heise. All rights reserved. Website by Mindvision.