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Twilight of the Gods: Page 740
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(#115) (#115 >> :) A rearing pile of rough-hewn logs towers on high (#92?) around the hall (:#115): (#146:) this was once the world-ash tree (:#146)! – (#100 accompaniment: [as heard in the finale of Twilight of the Gods as valhalla burns – a new form of fire figuration?]) When the timber blazes brightly in sacred fire, when its embers singe the glittering hall with their searing heat (:#100 accompaniment), (#21:; #54:) the downfall [“Ende”] of the (#20a:) immortal gods will dawn for all eternity (:#21; :#20a; :#54). (#87 [plus #87’s drum roll as heard also in #177 during Siegfried’s funeral procession?]) ((#@: c or d?) = #3 vari:) If you know yet more, (#87?) then coil the rope anew; ((#@: c or d?) = #3 vari:) from the north I cast it back to you (:(#@: c or d?) = #3 vari): (she throws the rope to the Second Norn, the latter tosses it to the first, who unties it from the branch and attaches it to another bough.) (#147 or #15 vari: [is there any #35 vari or #42 influence? - these chords are reminiscent of some heard just before Siegfried confronts Wotan in s.3.2?]) spin, my sister, and sing (:#147 or 15 vari)!


Curiously, accompanied by the new motif #116 (based directly on #27, and therefore part of the motif family which includes Loge’s Motif #36, #44, and #101, the last two associated with Mime’s cunning and scheming), the Second Norn speaks of the “runes of trustily counseled treaties” Wotan carved on his spear, which he holds as his grip on the world. The orchestra sounds #115 at this point, recalling the power of the gods. It seems odd that the Norns, Erda’s daughters who spin her knowledge into the rope of fate, would be so naïve that they could describe Wotan’s runes as trustily counseled, or for that matter, that they would describe him here as a god (“Gott”), since Wotan’s sole purpose since making the law has been to subvert it, and the Norns’ mother Erda denied that Wotan is what he calls himself, a God. Is this one of those rare instances where Wagner forgot to revise a portion of his libretto text to make it consistent with his final conception of the whole, before submitting it for publication? In any case, the sounding of #116 at this point indicates that these runes were not trustily counseled, but were counseled with a cunning intent to break them. It is conceivable that Wagner inadvertently failed to update every facet of an earlier version of his libretto text when he decided to alter the plot later, re-conceiving Wotan as a subtle and corrupt god who would go down to destruction without final redemption, so that the Norns in this scene seem unaware of Wotan’s duplicity towards others, or even his self-deception.

Catching the rope thrown to her by the Second Norn, the Third Norn recounts how Wotan now sits among the gods and heroes in Valhalla, which his heroes have surrounded with logs made from the wood of the World-Ash. Here he awaits that fire which will bring about the twilight of the gods. During her description of the events leading up to the twilight of the gods, #115, formerly associated with the gods’ rule over men, now begins to be associated specifically with the gods’ downfall. One can only assume #115’s presence in this context highlights the irony of the gods’ destiny. We are reminded that in the finale of R.4 Loge wryly observed that the gods, who think they will last forever, are headed for destruction, and Loge imagined his fire would play a key role in their demise.

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