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Twilight of the Gods: Page 924
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the Rhine seem to resemble not only some of Loge’s motival material representing fire such as #33b and #34, but also the fluttering of the Woodbird’s wings. The last time figurations of both fire and water seemed to combine was in S.3.3 when Siegfried told the fearful Bruennhilde - who, in her premonitory fear of the potentially tragic consequences, was trying to delay their inevitable sexual union - that he intended to cool the ardor, to put out the flame which was burning up his heart, by plunging head-first in to the flood of their passion. And this also calls to mind his plunging the red-hot Nothung into the bucket of water to cool it as he re-forged his father’s sword in S.1.3. }}

As Woglinde says she can hear the hero’s horn, a new and very mysterious, though quirky, motif sounds for the first time, #176. {{ It sounds as if it is a combination of fragments of other motifs, possibly two strong notes of one motif, plus a fragment of seven notes, perhaps of fire or Woodbird music. Dunning detected what he believes is its embryo in S.2.3. This embryo of #176 is heard after Siegfried has carried the dead Mime to Fafner’s cave in order that Mime can guard the hoard which was his only goal in life, but just before the Woodbird’s final revelation, that if Siegfried walks through a ring of fire and wakes Bruennhilde, he will win her, his boon companion. Its overwhelming emotional power arises from this, that it seems to be a motival link with Siegfried’s first revelation of Bruennhilde’s existence. By virtue of drinking the dead Fafner’s blood and grasping the meaning of Woodbirdsong, Siegfried, guided by the Woodbird, sought out his sleeping, future muse, Bruennhilde, his unconscious mind where he would find the true, hidden source of his artistic inspiration. When Siegfried said in S.2.3 that he would follow the path in life laid out for him by the inspiration of the Woodbird’s singing, #128 and #129, this was Siegfried’s premonition of his future as the music-dramatist Wagner, who would strive to offer mankind one last chance of redemption in the face of the inevitable victory of science over man’s metaphysical impulse to posit man’s transcendent value. According to Wagner, the Western classical orchestra, especially in the work of Beethoven, had reached such a sublime degree of sophistication in capturing the slightest nuances of human feeling, that he felt that in his hands it could restore the innocence that had been lost to man through the refinements of conceptual thought. The poignancy of this motif seems to stem from our sense, now, that this last hope is about to be lost forever. Siegfried has forever lost his way, having forgotten his true relationship with Bruennhilde and exposed her secrets to the light of day, by virtue of the inevitable, natural evolution from unconsciousness to consciousness, feeling to thought, love to power.

As Siegfried walks down to the bank of the Rhine the Rhinedaughters plunge deep underwater. He complains, accompanied by #176, that an elf (“Albe”) has led him astray, so that he lost the trail (of his game). At first, we naturally think that he refers to the fact he’s lost track of his hunting companions, which of course is true. But the powerful dramatic context, the lament of the Rhinedaughters, and the presence in the score of #176, which seems to recall how he first learned of Bruennhilde from the Woodbird (music), suggests to us a deeper and more resonant meaning, that Siegfried has gone astray from his true purpose in life, and that the elf to which he refers is perhaps Alberich (or certainly Alberich’s son and proxy Hagen). Of course, Siegfried would not recognize Alberich if he saw him. Perhaps the game Siegfried seeks, without knowing it, which he complains the elf has hidden from him, is his true love, the muse Bruennhilde, Siegfried’s self. Thanks to the elf Alberich and his son Hagen, the exponents of Alberich’s curse on the Ring, the curse of consciousness, Siegfried has now grown too conscious to seek unconscious artistic inspiration from his muse. But it is also true that Siegfried the artist-hero would never have been

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