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Twilight of the Gods: Page 739
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the motif’s dramatic or thematic center of gravity, and to maintain consistency in interpretation. If any motif can mean anything then all hope is lost. Most of the motifs accrue a large body of associations with the libretto in the course of the work, some appearing dozens of times, and needless to say a motifs’ full meaning can only be ascertained by comparing all such recurrences. It is inevitable that by virtue of so many associations, even if they seem to be applied by Wagner with an overall logic which makes sense in terms of the libretto, they will carry a good deal of ambiguity. Many such recurrences are susceptible to multiple interpretations, and the only check we have against error is to maintain a unified overview, an overall sense of the dramatic narrative, which allows us to make sense of each particular recurrence with informed plausibility. It might be said that Wagner’s musical motifs are a sort of poetico-musical version of the concept in quantum physics of indeterminacy, an ambiguity (in our perception, or in nature?) in which a wave collapses into a particle upon being observed, or a phenomenon crystallizes and becomes real through the statistical probability of its potentiality to manifest itself as human experience.

[T.P: C]

The Second Norn now describes how Siegfried broke Wotan’s spear, and how Wotan then ordered his martyred Valhallan heroes to chop down the World-Ash, causing its sacred spring to dry up forever:

Second Norn: (Winding the rope that has been thrown to her around a projecting rock at the entrance to the chamber.) [[ #116: ]] The runes of trustily counseled treaties (:#116) ([[ #115: ]] [definitive - is there any #53 influence?]) Wotan carved (:#115) (#21 vari:) on the shaft of the spear (:#21 vari) [[ #115: ]] he held it as his grip on the world (:#115). (#21 vari:) A dauntless hero shattered the spear in combat (:#21 vari); (#19>>?: [is there any #27, #36 vari, #44, #101, or #116 influence?]) the contracts’ hallowed haft was smashed to whirling splinters (:#19>>? [is there any #27, #36 vari, #44, #101, or #116?]). – (#19 >> :; 82 hint?:) Then Wotan bade Valhalla’s heroes hew into pieces ((#@: c or d?) = #3 vari or #146?:, #115?:) the world-ash’s (#54 >>:) withered boughs and bole (:(#@: c or d?) = #3 vari or #146?; :#54): the ash-tree fell; the spring ran dry for ever! (#146; (#@: c or d?) = #3 vari) ((#@: c or d?) = #3 vari:) If I tether the rope to the jagged rock today (:(#@: c or d?) = #3 vari), (#147: [but is #147 a #15 vari?]) sing, my sister, - I cast it to you (:#147 or #15 vari?) - (#88:) do you know what will become of it (:#88)?

 

Third Norn: (catching the rope and throwing the end behind her: #77 dysrhythmic hint? [or could this be #12b, its 2nd segment of five notes?]) Built by giants, the stronghold towers aloft; (#26a drums?) with the hallowed kin of gods and heroes (#54 vari) Wotan sits there within the hall.

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