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Twilight of the Gods: Page 768
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this painful mood briefly, comprised of Siegfried’s youthful horncall #103, and a Loge motif #33b, combined with #110 {{ or is it #145? }} and #111. Now Siegfried casts a boat off the bank of the Rhine, taking Grane with him: this is announced by #2 and #3, the first and second variants of the Primal Nature Motif #1, the second (#3) being what Cooke called the Motion of the Rhine Motif. Suddenly we hear #54, the Twilight of the Gods Motif, and are brought back to reality: the whole plot of this last of the Ring music-dramas turns on the twilight of the gods with which it ends.

As Siegfried makes his way down the Rhine we now hear a new combination of #59a, #103, and #14 (#14 particularly expressing the Rhinedaughters’ joyous swimming in the Rhine), which is somehow overwhelmingly moving. #59abc calls to mind the Rhinedaughters’ lament for the lost gold, a lament addressed only artificially by Siegfried’s leaving Alberich’s Ring with Bruennhilde so she can temporarily redeem him and his future audience from Alberich’s curse, a redemption only to be gained permanently in the end by an actual restoration of the Ring to the Rhinedaughters, who will dissolve it and its curse in the Rhine. Part of the poignancy of this moment in the Rhine Journey is that Siegfried will never in fact return the Ring to them, not even when they plead with him directly (nor will he ever return to re-embrace Bruennhilde, except in words at the moment of his death). Now we hear Rhinedaughter music from the opening scene of The Rhinegold, #13 (the Rhinedaughters’ joyous cry of “Heiajaheia! Heiajaheia!”), and also #12 (the “Rhinegold Motif”), both expressing the Rhinedaughters’ original aesthetic delight in the gold. The orchestra then sounds the remainder of their lament from R.4, #59bc. However, as #59c ends it darkens and is transformed first into #17, then #19, and finally into #37, recalling the sequence of events in R.1 when Alberich, thwarted in love, decided to call the Rhinedaughters’ bluff, renounce love, steal the Rhinegold, and forge a Ring of power to be wielded by him in a loveless world. #12 now sounds several times, its harmony continually darkened and sadder. Just before the introduction of our new motifs from Twilight of the Gods representing two key members of the Gibichung Clan (Hagen and his half-brother Gunther), we hear a very powerful version of #45ab, representing the power Alberich wields over men with his Ring, or, to be more accurate, the potential power of the Ring, per se, to overthrow man’s hubris and puncture man’s illusions about himself.

This leads to the first of the Gibichung Motifs, #151, representing Hagen, Gunther’s and Gutrune’s half-brother. They share a mother, Grimhilde, whom Alberich (as Wotan told Bruennhilde in his V.2.2 confession) at some point earlier wooed with gold, so that he could sow the seed of his envy (“Neid”) in her womb, and give birth to his agent of vengeance, who will fulfill his curse, his son Hagen. Cooke says #151 is in the family of Gibichung Motifs which includes #155 (often called “False Friendship”), #156 (“Gutrune’s Motif”), and #171 (the “Gibichung Horncall,” which celebrates the double wedding of Siegfried with Gutrune, and Gunther with Bruennhilde). Gunther’s Motif #152 is heard next, and Dunning agrees with me that it seems to owe something to the so-called “Power of the Gods Motif” #115. This would make sense because Gunther is, as a mortal ruler, a sort of earthly Wotan, his society exemplifying the gods’ divine authority, but it is also through Hagen’s influence on Gunther and Gutrune that the twilight of the gods will be brought about, and #115 comes to be associated, ironically, more and more with the waning power of the gods.

What Siegfried’s Rhine journey is telling us is that Siegfried’s very ignorance of his situation and of his true identity, is in fact the very reason he is a fearless hero, and that this is ultimately leading him unwittingly to disaster, a fact expressed in the dark and tragic transformation of motifs heard in

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