Wintersturmer's question about Kundry's Arabian Balm

General Discussion about Wagner and The Ring of the Nibelung

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alberich00
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Wintersturmer's question about Kundry's Arabian Balm

Post by alberich00 » Sun Nov 21, 2021 6:26 am

Hail,

While thinking about RW's music in general, and how it can elicit strong, overpowering emotions (yeah, verily, even tears) in spite of myself, I must concede that a strict diet of Wagner and its side dish of Welt-Angst would be difficult to tolerate. One does need the occasional balm of lighter fare as a distraction from daily preoccupations (and existential quests). My preferred alternative stew is polyphonic (Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque): to my perception, this is a "communal" form of music-making, where diverse voices and instruments share the limelight, or participate in ensemble that yields a result greater than the individuals (this must be my Sigmund brain in action). Anyways, thoughts of soothing balms brought to mind the "balm from Arabia" that Kundry brings back to sooth Amfortas' unhealing wound. Could this be akin to stating that she was searching for the ur-melody from the sources of Ancient western music (middle East, Greece, and India)...the minor pentatonic arpeggio at the introduction of Rhinegold from which man made music is unconsciously derived (and thus ultimately succeeds only as a temporary bandaid)?

I rather doubt that RW would have mentioned the balm as a mere throwaway phrase for exotic color. As usual, your assistance in clearing my muddy thinking would be greatly appreciated.

W
alberich00
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Re: Wintersturmer's question about Kundry's Arabian Balm

Post by alberich00 » Sun Nov 21, 2021 6:28 am

Dear Wintersturmer:

The balm she seeks, whether it be from Arabia or wherever, in my interpretation of PAR, is the balm that she in her former life as Brünnhilde, Isolde, Eva, and Elsa, i.e., as the muse of unconscious artistic inspiration, sought to provide to the artist-hero (Siegfried, Tristan, Walther, Parsifal) in her former lives as his muse of unconscious artistic inspiration, and to his audience, represented by Gunther and the Gibichungs, King Marke, Hans Sachs and the Folk of Nuremberg, Amfortas, and the Folk of King Henry's kingdom in "Lohengrin," but that balm of art as a substitute for dying religious faith has been found wanting, which is why all of Kundry's balms (whatever they are) only increase Amfortas's feeling of unbearable anguish, ripping his unhealing wound wide open rather than closing it, and it's this terrible sin (all of Wagner's artist-heroes have inherited Wotan's original religious sin against all that was, is, and will be, the sin of pessimism, of world-renunciation, which Alberich designed his Ring Curse to punish).

I've never thought of the Arabia connection here of having the significance of a search for the ur-melody of healing, but there's another way of grasping this. Part of Wagner's conception of Klingsor's Magic Castle and Garden across the Pyrenees from Christian France was that it was a kind of Moslem garden of paradise, the exotic seductions of the East, and this surely could have an influence on her saying she brought a potential balm from Arabia. But Klingsor's Magic Garden with its Flower-Maiden muses (including Kundry in her seductive mode) is Wagner's symbol for his former life as an unconsciously inspired music-dramatist, whose balm for man's unhealing wound has now been found wanting. Wagner in his "Epilogue to 'The Nibelung's Ring' said that the plots of "Tristan and Isolde" and "Götterdämmerung are the same: in each, a hero, as if under a spell, gives his own true love to another man, and thereby finds his doom." This is Wagner's metaphor for himself, for being the modern, secular artist-hero who inadvertently and unwittingly gave away the secret of unconscious artistic inspiration (his muse, his unconscious mind, and her secrets) to his audience (Gunther, Marke, Amfortas). Wagner also said to Cosima that Kundry is in a sense greater than Brünnhilde, because Kundry experienced Isolde's transfiguration innumerable times in her former life. Since Isolde is virtually identical allegorically to Brünnhilde, this means that Kundry's offer to grant Parsifal redemption through her love (through unconscious artistic inspiration by his muse), being rejected by him, is being rejected by the reincarnation of Walther, Siegfried, and Tristan. Note that Tristan suffers an unhealing wound like Amfortas. This is the artist-hero becoming too conscious of who he is, i.e., as the unwitting perpetuator of Wotan's unhealing wound, i.e., Wagner's art's implication in religious man's sin of world-renunciation. This is precisely the sin that Nietzsche accused Wagner of committing.

Your man from www.wagnerheim.com has spoken
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