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Twilight of the Gods: Page 811
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orchestral pulses which recall the Norns’ scene, T.P.1. We hear #151b again as Hagen, motionlessly speaking to himself, notes that he is guarding the garth and defending the Hall from the foe. Now we are introduced to a new motif #161 (whose end fragment we have heard previously on several occasions) as Hagen says the wind wafts Gibich’s son (i.e., Gunther) away, wooing. Cooke notes (as Wagner himself noted) that #161 is based on #45, “The Power of the Ring Motif,” which expressed the coercive power Alberich wielded as forger and rightful owner of the Ring. #45ab, which contains #19’s (the Ring’s) harmony, is based in turn on two of the motifs representing the Rhinedaughters’ aesthetic joy in the Rhinegold, #13 (“Heiajaheia! Heiajaheia!”) and #15 (“Rhinegold! Rhinegold!”), which in turn are based on Alberich’s #5ab (“Wehe! Ach, Wehe!”). #161, therefore, contains within itself a motival genealogy which resonates with the entire plot of the Ring, recalling both the Golden Age and the Fall. {{ I need to determine whether #161 is a basis for what I have called the “Motif of Remembrance,” a motif heard when Hagen in T.3.2 is suggesting Siegfried tell the assembled Gibichungs how he once learned the meaning of Woodbirdsong, and Siegfried decides to sing Gunther tales of his youth to cheer him up. It is first heard in T.3.2 in the orchestra immediately after Siegfried says: “I thirst.” }} A #40 variant reminds us that love is under threat in this loveless world thanks to Alberich’s quest for power.

Alberich notes - accompanied by Siegfried’s motif #92 - that Gunther’s helm is held by a doughty hero who will face every danger (i.e., face Wotan’s unspoken secret, his divine “Noth”) for him. One can’t help seeing the parallel between Gunther and Wotan here. Wotan did not have the courage or ruthlessness to win back the Ring from Fafner in order to keep its power out of Alberich’s hands, because Wotan would have had to break his own contract with the Giants engraved in his spear to do so (i.e., though Wotan had to deny that man’s religious longing for transcendent value has an egoistic origin, nonetheless this self-deception only has conviction because it satisfies man’s egoistic impulses, the Giants, subliminally), but somehow he didn’t consider it beneath him to depend upon his Waelsung heroes to do for him what he could not or would not do himself, and to face the consequences – the anguish caused by Alberich’s curse - for him. This is precisely how Gunther is exploiting Siegfried now, to win for him a woman for whom his own courage is insufficient. We are reminded of Wagner’s remark that only the higher human spirit, such as the inspired artist, can see in even the most humble things the universal tragic significance of the world. Though this is a characteristic of Siegfried, in contrast with average man whom Gunther represents (of whom Wagner said that if he were granted insight into the tragic world within which the great genius lives daily, he would be driven to madness or self-destruction), Siegfried is protected from suffering this unhealing wound by his artistic nature, which grants him the privilege of temporarily healing this wound each time he produces a new deed of art. This is why Siegfried faces danger for Gunther, why Siegfried alone has the courage to retrieve his muse Bruennhilde for him.

Now, accompanied by Hagen’s Potion Motif #154, in combination with #103 (“Siegfried’s Youthful Horncall), Hagen boasts that Siegfried’s very own bride he’ll bring to the Rhine, but to Hagen Siegfried will bring the Ring. {{ Something peculiar happened in the orchestral accompaniment to Hagen’s last statement, but it is difficult to tease out. Could it be the combination of the special harmonic variant of #20b and #12, associated in Wotan’s confession (in V.2.2) with Wotan’s resigned acceptance of the fact that Erda foresaw that when Alberich produced a son in his envy, the gods’ twilight would soon follow? A few seconds later we do, indeed, hear

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