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The Rhinegold: Page 122
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The Rhinedaughters: [[ #13: ]] Heiajaheia! Heiajaheia (:#13)! Wallalalalala leiajahei! [[ #15: ]] Rhinegold! Rhinegold! (:#15)! [[ #16: ]] Light-bringing joy, how bright and sublime your laughter! (…) Gladdening games we’ll play for you now: when the river glows and the flood is aflame, your bed we encircle, diving and dancing and singing, in blithely blissful abandon (:#16)!

 

[#15, #13, and #12 are heard as the girls swim around the gold in delight; [[ #14: ]] is introduced here as they swim. Alberich asks about the gold]

 

Rhinedaughters: Where is your home, you ruffian, that you’ve never heard of the Rhinegold?

 

Wellgunde: The elf knows naught of the eye of the gold that wakes and sleeps by turns?

 

Woglinde: Of the joy-giving star in the watery deep that illumines the waves with its noble light?

 

[The Rhinedaughters ask Alberich to join them to #16, and then sing wallala etc. to #4]

The Rhinedaughters’ song in celebration of the Rhinegold introduces four new motifs, two of which are extremely important in the further development of the plot and the evolution of motifs associated with it, namely, #13 and #15, both of which derive ultimately (and ironically) from Alberich’s cry of woe at his inability to find love in nature, #5ab (“Wehe! Ach, Wehe!”). #13 is associated with their cry “Heiajaheia! Heiajaheia!”, and #15 with their cry “Rhinegold! Rhinegold!” As if that weren’t irony enough, #13, at its inception here associated with joy, will - Cooke noted - give birth to the Nibelungs’ Forging (or Labor) Motif #41, associated with Alberich’s enslavement of his fellow Nibelungs. One of the other two motifs is #14, which is merely descriptive of the splashing of the Rhinedaughters in the Rhine, representing one of what Deryck Cooke called the Motions of Nature. Later #14 will produce #175, the splashing of the Rhinedaughters during their confrontation with Siegfried in T.3.1. And last, #16 is the beautiful song of the Rhinedaughters in celebration of the Rhinegold’s beauty, associated directly with their song and dance, i.e., with the arts.

Jean Jacques Nattiez, in his book Wagner Androgyne, referenced Tibor Kneif as the source of a fascinating insight into Wagner’s allegorical intentions apropos the Rhinedaughters. On this reading the three Rhinedaughters represent the three muses of drama and poetry (Flosshilde), song (Woglinde), and dance (Wellgunde). [Nattiez: p. 55-56] As noted by Kneif, Wagner himself provided our clue to this metaphorical reading:

[P. 95] “The arts of Dance, Tone, and Poetry … call themselves the three primeval sisters whom we see at once entwine their measures wherever the conditions necessary for artistic manifestment have arisen. … this dance … is the very cadence of Art itself … . (…)

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