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Twilight of the Gods: Page 901
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you women! – (#171:) May blissful delight now laugh out aloud (:#171)! (#156?:) in garth and grove you shall see me gladdest of all today (:#156?). (#37: [in an optimistic-sounding vari of the utmost possible irony]) He whom love delights (:#37 [optimistic vari]), [the order of the German verses is reversed in the following English passage] (#171?:) let the lucky man share in my happy frame of mind [“meinem frohen Muthe” - Siegfried sings a high, Gibichung-style interval leap on “Muthe” and “Glueckliche”])!

 

(#171: Siegfried throws his arm around Gutrune in exuberant high spirits and draws her away with him into the hall. The vassals and womenfolk, carried away by his example, follow him. The stage has emptied. Only Bruennhilde, Gunther, and Hagen remain behind. #152 vari; #156a. His face covered, Gunther has sat down to one side in deep shame and terrible dejection. Bruennhilde remains standing at the front of the stage, gazing in her anguish at the disappearing forms of Siegfried and Gutrune, before lowering her head. #51; #37; #15 vari [but sounding a little like #41, i.e., #13?]; #150; #150 vari/#50 [or #166?]; #159; #50 [or #166?]; #159; #50; #161/#50; #5?; #167)

 

Siegfried’s hubristic self-confidence and celebratory optimism is a classic instance of a final moment in a hero’s consummation of glory before the fall. The tragic irony attains such an apogee of intensity here that even the “Loveless Motif,” #37, acquires an optimistic sounding coloration and feel in the orchestra, as Siegfried exclaims: “He whom love delights, let the lucky man share in my happy frame of mind.” The vassals and their ladies follow Siegfried’s and Gutrune’s happy example and proceed after them into the Hall. Bruennhilde, Hagen, and Gunther remain behind, Bruennhilde confronting the total and seemingly irrevocable disillusionment of all her life’s hopes and dreams, and Gunther shamed into silence, beyond hope of repair. The accompanying music expresses Bruennhilde’s despondent and hopeless mood, capturing her total isolation and despair. We hear #51 (Alberich’s Ring Curse – which embraces his threat that all the living will renounce love as Alberich did); #37 (Loveless); a #15 Variant – with perhaps a hint of #13 (reminding us that Siegfried, in betraying his muse Bruennhilde, has lost his surrogate Rhine, the gift her magic provided, which protected him from experiencing the Ring curse, the wounds of consciousness); #150 (Wotan’s secret hoard of runes which Siegfried has betrayed to the light of day); a #154 Variant combined with #50 (Hagen’s Potion, symbol for the Wagnerian Wonder, plus Alberich’s Resentment Motif, expressing his intent to avenge himself against the gods for co-opting his Ring-power), and motival reminiscences of Hagen’s Watch. Bruennhilde has plummeted into the nadir of her entire life, and the only meaningful thing she can now think to do in a world rendered – or rather, exposed as - meaningless is to destroy both herself and her true love, who betrayed her.

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