Motif 31: Curse

German name: Verführungsfigur

Soundbytes Curse (Martha Mödl; ogg format)

Musical example: Motif 31 - Curse

This is the complex of motives representing Kundry's Curse. She cannot weep, only laugh her accursed laugh. In common with Amfortas, Kundry is weary (A), seeking release in death. She is cursed with eternal rebirth, constantly Waking anew (B).

Fragments of this complex appear gradually. The first of them, the cascading scale that appears to be a relative of the Laughter motif — although the rhythm is more complex, it contains her characteristic interval of the tritone — first appears at the end of Gurnemanz's line, Hier lebt sie heut', vielleicht erneu't, zu büssen Schuld aus früh'rem Leben. It is heard again at Amfortas' cry to the Redeemer. Then the latter part (C) appears immediately after Kundry awakes at the call of Klingsor in the second act. Klingsor echoes (C) and then (A) appears accompanying Kundry's lament. But these are only pre- echoes. Most of the complex appears in the first period of the Grausamer section, and then we hear the complex, completed for the first time, as Kundry tells of how she mocked Christ and how His look fell upon her, at which she was cursed to wander the world (zu büssen Schuld aus früh'rem Leben) until she meets her Redeemer.

References: Kufferath ex.42, Newman ex.37, ENO ex.34-35.

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