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Twilight of the Gods: Page 968
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to divide again, until the hall of the Gibichungs can be made out once more, as in the opening act. #149 [a sad vari with melancholy harp accompaniment]; #177ab; #149 [in a sad vari]; #170a?)

 

This orchestral interlude’s keynote is the last of the new Ring motifs #177ab, followed quickly by #66, which I have interpreted as the motif expressing the “Noth,” or anguish, which is the fate of the Waelsung heroes by virtue of being unwitting martyrs to Wotan’s futile campaign to redeem the gods from Alberich’s curse on the Ring, the curse of truth itself, which will overthrow all of man’s illusions of his transcendent value. Wotan’s Waelsung heroes had to pay Alberich’s price, in order to spare the gods (i.e., those men dependent on belief in gods for their happiness) from having to pay it. There are many, of course, who interpret this motif merely as one expressing Sieglinde’s compassion and sympathy for the plight (“Noth”) of her Waelsung brother and husband (Siegmund), and their son Siegfried, and #66 clearly stands for this as well. {{ In the variant of #66 heard here, however, there is a twist at the end that sounds very like one heard in association with #66, #81, and #87 in S.3.2, when Wotan told Siegfried that if Siegfried knew who Wotan was, he’d respect him, and that Siegfried’s disrespect is painful to Wotan. Could it be the #81 or #164 gracenote twist, and therefore a motival hint that Siegfried was never the free agent that he felt himself to be? }}

As is well known, the motifs Wagner chose for Siegfried’s funeral procession are those evoking the history of the Waelsung race, from Siegmund and Sieglinde to Siegfried. First we hear #71 and #70, motifs introduced in V.1.2 after Siegmund had described the “Noth-filled” life which had forced him to name himself Woeful. His tragic fate, conveyed by #70 and #71, is the price paid by the Waelsung heroes for being heirs to Wotan’s futile quest for redemption, a concept also conveyed in a different way by #66. While #66 expressed both Siegmund’s woe and Sieglinde’s sympathy for it, #70 and #71 manifested Siegmund’s feeling of tragic solitude and loneliness in the midst of a society which did not understand him, and in which he fought for the right to preserve his own council and conscience against powerful pressures to do otherwise.

Following immediately upon #71 and #70 are #63/#66, Sieglinde’s own motif plus that conveying her compassion for the Waelsung heroes’ “Noth.” At this point the moon breaks through the clouds, casting an increasingly bright light on the funeral procession. Once the procession reaches the top of the cliff we hear the primary love motif in two key variants, #40, which conveys the tragedy of man’s fight for love in a loveless world, and #64, the definitive love motif which was introduced in V.1.1 to express the growing love between Sieglinde and Siegmund. #64b of course stems from the second of Freia’s love motifs, #25. #177ab, Siegfried’s death-stroke, continually punctuates all of this music. Mists finally rise from the Rhine and hide everything on stage. Now we hear #57, the Sword Motif which conveys Wotan’s grand idea for redemption from Alberich’s curse, that a race of heroes would take on the burden of that curse in order to restore lost innocence. The music grows ever louder as we hear Siegfried’s motif #92 (bespeaking his onetime status as the hero rendered fearless by Bruennhilde’s loving protection), which then transitions into #92c (which is otherwise known, evidently, as a #71 variant sometimes called the “Hero Motif”), which is actually a sort of cadential figure or end fragment of #92. #92c was associated in V.3.1 with Bruennhilde’s handing the two pieces of Siegmund’s broken sword Nothung to Sieglinde so that Sieglinde could give it in turn to the as-yet-unborn hero, her son Siegfried, and also with Bruennhilde’s naming of Siegfried. Finally we hear the Horncall of Siegfried’s Maturity, #148, on

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