Parsifal

Motif 15: Klingsor

German name: Klingsormotiv


Musical example: Motif 11 - Klingsor Soundbytes Klingsor (Ludwig Weber; ogg format)


The Klingsor motif is first heard when Gurnemanz sings about the sorcerer and his history. It dominates the music of the Act 2 prelude. It is closely related to Magic #14. In bars 28-31 of this prelude the Magic motif develops out of the latter part of #15, with the same dotted rhythm.

It seems strange at first to find that the music of two principal characters in this drama is so little differentiated. Klingsor's theme develops from the motif of Riding, which we first heard in association with Kundry.

The explanation might be that these two characters are so closely tied to each other, until one of them is destroyed, that their music is common. Even after the destruction of Klingsor's domain, as Hans-Joachim Bauer remarked, we can still hear an echo of Klingsor at Von dort kam das Stöhnen: perhaps Kundry is dreaming of Klingsor and the events of the second act?

Franz Stassen - Klingsor awakes Kundry

References: von Wolzogen ex.10, Lorenz p.54, Lavignac p.451, Kufferath ex.16, Newman ex.18, ENO ex.7, Bauer p.69.