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Prelude to Act I of 'Lohengrin'
Lohengrin is a Knight of the Grail who comes to the help of an kingdom, and, more particularly, of a royal maiden. Wagner regarded this legend as symbolical of universal spiritual truths.
The short Prelude to the Opera is intended as a preparation for what follows, suggesting the. idea of the Grail.
It opens with sustained ethereal chords in Strings and Flutes. Then the chief motif of the Opera, that of the Grail, is played very softly, at a very high pitch, by Violins. The Prelude is chiefly founded on this Grail motif.
Lilian Stiles Allen (Soprano) and Orchestra Elsa's Dream ('Lohengrin')
Gottfried, the young Duke of Brabant, has disappeared. His sister, Elsa. is suspected of being the cause of his death. Elsa, called before her accusers, seems lost in a trance. To the accusations, she answers by telling how she had appealed to heaven for help, and, in a dream, had seen a Knight of glorious mien coming to her.
Overture and Venusberg Music from 'Tannhauser,'
Siegfried's Journey to the Rhine, and The Death March (from 'The Dusk of the Gods')
The theme of TannhÃÂ¤user is the conflict between the purely sensual life and a higher, spiritual life. The Overture and Bacchanale epitomize the two contrasting influences in Tannhauser's soul. First is heard the solemn statement of a Pilgrim's Hymn, and later on, the revels at the Court of Venus ere vividly depicted.
In the last music-drama of The Ring, entitled The Dusk of the Gods, Siegfried has won his bride, Brunnhilde, and sets out to seek the company of warriors at a castle beside the Rhine. The 'journey' music, played while the curtain is down. pictures for us his joyous leaping stride, and then the broad. strongly-flowing river.
There are few more impressive pages in all Wagner's works than those which later accompany the bearing away of the body ot Siegfried, who has been treacherously killed by an enemy.
In this funeral music themes from the earlier part of The Dusk of the Gods are recalled, as well as motifs from the other Dramas of The Ring cycle. The whole of the great universal tragedy seems to be summed up in this sombre, powerful music.
Lilian Stiles Allen and Orchestra
Closing Scene from The Dusk of the Gods
Ruin has fallen. Siegfried is dead. So is his rival, Gunther. Brunnhilde, daughter of the gods, stands in the centre of the stage absorbed in the contemplation of the body of Siegfried. She orders that mighty logs be piled upon the Rhine's banks and that her horse be brought-Grane, the Valkyrie steed upon which she has been wont to carry to Valhalla the bodies of heroes killed in battle.
The pyre is raised; women decorate it with coverings and flowers. Brunnhilde declaims Siegfried's virtues, and deplores his spurning of her, into which he had been betrayed by the guile of his enemies. She sings of the eternal purpose she sees beneath these dark events. She draws from Siegfried's finger the Ring, made from the Rhine Gold, which has brought upon them all the curse. She puts it upon her own finger, and turns to the pyre upon which Siegfried's body now lies. She takes a torch from one of the men-at-arms and casts it upon the pile, which flares up. Then she mounts her steed, and, with the cry, Siegfried, Siegfried, Brunnhilde greets thee in bliss, leaps into the fire.
The flames burst forth, the onlookers shrink back in terror. The hall is alight. All is destroyed. The Rhine overflows. The Rhine-maidens appear in the waves. They regain the Ring. The Rhino sinks back into its bed. In the glowing sky is seen Valhalla, the abode of the gods-also in flames. The gods themselves perish, and the curtain falls.
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