Dr Takt is our man behind the score and reveals to us its special moments.
Dr Takt on Wagner's Twilight of the Gods / "theme of forgetting", Act I, measure 498/499
This is the 19th episode in our series of videos with Dr Takt
Twilight of the Gods
The third day of A scenic festival in three days and one eve by Richard Wagner
Conductor: Donald Runnicles
Director: Stefan Herheim
With Clay Hilley, Thomas Lehman, Jürgen Linn, Gidon Saks / Albert Pesendorfer, Nina Stemme, Aile Asszonyi, Okka van der Damerau et al.
Premiere on 17 October 2021
The "Book of Themes" for Wagner's RING contains nearly 200 themes. These include catchy tunes, and a number of candidates for "most unknown theme". One of these is the "theme of forgetting". It represents a central moment, the erasing of Siegfried's memory of Brünnhilde after drinking Gutrune's potion. This turns Siegfried into a tool and victim of Hagen's plan in the fight for the Ring and world supremacy. At its core the theme is a change in chords, as the root and the third of a minor six-four chord are chromatically shifted. Then comes the characteristic third jump from the fifth to the ninth of the subsequent, wan, tense and truncated seven-nine chord. Only through instrumentation and the position in the musical phrase does this chord shift become a main theme – one that expresses the upcoming calamity as well as Brünnhilde’s rage in light of the betrayal against her.