Finishing the End <i>Third Day:</i> Götterdämmerung

John Deathridge

in Wagner Beyond Good and Evil

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780520254534
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520934610 | DOI:
Finishing the End Third Day: Götterdämmerung

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This chapter describes the conception of Wagner's composition of Götterdämmerung. When Wagner began to compose Götterdämmerung he had come such a long way, artistically and intellectually, since writing the libretto, to the extent that the music no longer rang true. Götterdämmerung had to wait for more than two decades before Wagner, who had allegedly long since reneged on the spirit of the 1848–49 Revolution, could finish it. Wagner's conceptual and practical difficulties with Götterdämmerung were due not simply to the passage of time and his growing estrangement. Wagner's solution was to give Siegfrieds Tod a prologue, to expand it into the whole Ring cycle, and then later to revise it again in light of the three new preceding dramas he had written in the meantime. But the negative images and drastic reversals remained. As a result, Wagner completely rewrote two key scenes in order to reinforce them.

Keywords: Wagner; Götterdämmerung; Siegfried; Ring; libretto; Revolution

Chapter.  3829 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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