Parsifal

Motif 13: Nature's Healing

German name: Waldes Morgenpracht, Waldesrauschen


Below: the first version of the Nature motive (Act I):Musical example: Motif 13a - Act 1 - Waldes Morgenpracht
Soundbytes Act I: Nature's healing (Hans Knappertsbusch, George London; ogg format)

Below: the second, expanded version of the Nature motive incorporating the turning figure A (Act I):

Musical example: Motif 13b - Act 1 - Nature's healing


This motif is associated with the forest and with nature in general. Ernest Newman described the first appearance of the melody (Nach wilder Schmerzensnacht nun Waldes Morgenpracht) as a little vignette of the beauty and solace of uncorrupted nature. Hans von Wolzogen called it, the Rustling of the Forest. It returns with Parsifal in the third act, at soll ich mich denen jetzt entwunden wähnen, da dieses Waldesrauschen wieder ich vernehme (bars 290-293). But now all is changed and the rustling of the forest is harmonised with mystical chords. Verändert denkt mich Alles.



Below: the motive returns transformed (Act III): Musical example: Motif 13c - Act 3 - Forest murmurs

It is a composite of (A), which is also part of the Agony motif and which first appears towards the end of the prelude to the first act, and (B), which might represent Nature. Both appear in the first- act transformation music. Note that this variant of Nature includes the three-note fragment that I have labelled as the Ethical Question motif.


References: von Wolzogen ex.8, Lorenz pp.26-28, Lavignac p.448-9 "the breeze", Kufferath ex.12, Newman ex.14, ENO ex.40, Bauer pp.40-43.

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