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Twilight of the Gods: Page 767
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playful, dance-like development]; #33b vari [a playful vari based on the Norns’ version of #33b?]; #33b or #35? [in a powerful vari]; #103/#33b mixed into #110 & #111 [a highly contrapuntal passage: again, is #110 here actually #145?]; #2/#3; #54 [is there a #37 hint?]; #2/#3; #59a/#103/#14 [is this the #103 frag associated with Siegfried’s labor, his smelting of Nothung?]; #13 vari; #12 frag [2nd segment of five notes?]; #59b; #59c; #59 ending [darkening and transforming into #17, then into #19, then into #37 - played twice with trills as heard just before the norns described their rope of fate being split in t.p?; #12 [complete but sad]; #12 [darkened and sadder]; #45ab; [[ #151 ]]; [[ #152 ]]; #152 [in the bass]; #151; #152 [in the bass])

There is something very playful, sportive, and dance-like in the opening minutes of Siegfried’s Rhine Journey, and in the unfettered creative joy and exuberance with which Wagner juxtaposes motifs in counterpoint, which I take to be an expression of Siegfried’s creative rapture as an artist, art being, according to Wagner, a profound form of play. It is as if this joyful conjuncture of motifs relating to Siegfried’s intent to go out into the world and undertake great adventures (i.e., produce inspired works of art for an actual audience of his fellow men and women) incarnates Wagner's notion that through music the composer becomes the Lord of Nature, because he can play with life itself, without suffering any actual bad consequences. As Donington put it: “That is the advantage of an artistic experience; we pass through the gamut of human emotion, but not as literal participants. We learn from the experience without paying the heavy price which that lesson might cost us in a direct encounter.” [Donington: p. 247]

Or, as Wagner himself said, when describing the creative joy of musical composition:

“The joy of wielding this new power [music’s power] turns … to humour: all grief of Being breaks before this vast enjoyment of the play therewith … .” [777W-{9-12/70} Beethoven: PW Vol. V, p. 92]

This is a part of Siegfried’s hubris, his wholesale ignorance of the tragic context within which he creates his art.

#110 {{ or is this #145? }} and #111 recall Siegfried’s feeling of freedom in learning that Mime could stake no actual claim upon him as he went out into the world, and though these motifs also remind us that Mime never succeeded in getting Fafner to teach Siegfried fear before he ran off to undertake adventures in the outer world (a lesson Mime regarded as essential if Siegfried was to survive in the cunning world), Bruennhilde has taught him fear. We then hear a combination of #150, #77, and #148 in a festive mode. #149 of course stands for Bruennhilde’s joy in inspiring Siegfried to undertake this new adventure, the sole purpose for which she lives, and #150 reminds us that Bruennhilde holds for Siegfried his true source of inspiration, Wotan’s hoard of knowledge, from whose ill effects she protects him. But #40b, in a very tragic, dark variant, tells us that love is again under great threat, just as it did at its inception during the transition from R.2 to R.3, when Wotan and Loge visited Alberich’s realm of terror, Nibelheim, the product of Alberich’s renunciation of love for the sake of power. A dance-like celebratory counterpoint of motifs breaks

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