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Appendix: Leitmotif References

In the table below I have listed the books referenced in the "Leitmotif Guide", with a short description of each one. Some of the books referenced are entirely devoted to Wagner's Parsifal whilst others contain at least one chapter about this opera. For works originally published in other languages that are available in English translation, I have provided the name of the translator. Unfortunately there are no complete translations of the books by Bauer or Lorenz.

Date & place of publication Title, publisher & editions Author and translator Original language Notes
1978 Munich and Salzburg Wagner's Parsifal: Kriterien der Kompositionsteknik. Musikverlag Emil Katzbichler. Hans-Joachim Bauer German A penetrating study of the score. Bauer examines Wagner's "leading motive" technique in Parsifal, including how the motives develop and interact. He then considers the rhythms, orchestration and harmonies of the music.
1971 Velber, 1985 Zürich, Reclam 1996 Stuttgart. Eng. 1979 Cambridge. Richard Wagner's Music Dramas (Richard Wagners Musikdramen). 1st edn. Friedrich Verlag, 2nd edn. Orell Füssli, Eng. translation CUP. Pocket edn. Reclam. Chapter XI. Carl Dahlhaus, translator Mary Whittall. German This is a highly regarded introduction to Wagner's canonical operas. Although not many pages are devoted to Parsifal there are insights on every page, not only into the music but also into the poetry and the ideas of this opera. Note in particular his discussion of Yearning in Tristan and Parsifal.
1986 London and New York ENO/ROH Guide to Parsifal: Thematic Guide. Opera Guide No.34. John Calder, Riverrun Press. Pages 71-81. Lionel Friend, editor Nicholas John. English In his list of motives, Lionel Friend casts his net wide and so catches all of the major thematic ideas but also many insignificant details. This book also includes an essay on the music of Parsifal by Robin Holloway.
1893 Paris and New York Parsifal: Legend, Drama, Partition (Parsifal de Richard Wagner: légende, drame, partition). US Book Company 1892, Henry Holt & Co. 1904. Maurice Kufferath, translator Louise Henermann. French One of the earliest but still worth reading studies of Wagner's last opera.
1892 Paris and New York The Music Dramas of Richard Wagner and his Festival Theatre in Bayreuth. US edn. Dodd, Mead & Co. Albert Lavignac, translator Esther Singleton. French Lavignac's book is a compendium of everything that a visitor to Bayreuth needed to know in the 1890's and much of it is still relevant. In his chapter on Parsifal, M. Lavignac provides copious musical examples, following the Guide by von Wolzogen.
Berlin 1926, 2nd. edn. Tutzing 1966. Das Geheimnis der Form bei Richard Wagner, Band IV. Der Musikalische Aufbau von Richard Wagner's Parsifal. 2nd Edition, Vorlag Hans Schneider. Alfred Lorenz German Although Lorenz was mainly concerned with musical structure, he provides a thorough survey of Wagner's thematic material that goes well beyond that of von Wolzogen. Lorenz discusses not only the prominent and obvious Leitmotive but also the small elements that he called "Urmotive", fragments and building blocks of the music.
1984 London Wagner (Master Musicians Series). J.M. Dent & Sons. Pages 256-271. Barry Millington English Millington's book is unusual in that it combines biography with an account of Wagner's major works. Although he only discusses the major thematic elements, the chapter on Parsifal also discusses other aspects of the music that deserve our attention, such as tonality and orchestration.
1996 London Wagner's Most Subtle Art: An analytic Study of Tristan und Isolde Roger North English Probably hard to find but worth seeking out, this privately published study of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde analyzes that work in depth. North discusses Wagner's score in terms of "basic motives" that are elements much smaller than traditional Leitmotive and which can appear within those motives. Such basic motives can be found not only in Tristan but in other operas: for example in the Ring the motive of Woe that is first heard when Alberich is rejected by the Rhinemaidens, or in Parsifal the motives of Yearning and Suffering.
1949 Putnam Wagner Nights (or US edn. as The Wagner Operas). Pages 670-764. Ernest Newman English In this classic of Wagner literature, the London-based music critic Ernest Newman — who had a life-long love-hate relationship with Wagner as man and artist — gives a scene by scene summary of each opera, with many musical examples.
1981 Cambridge UK Cambridge Opera Handbooks: Richard Wagner Parsifal, CUP, Pages 61-86. Arnold Whittall, editor Lucy Beckett English Whittall gives us a perceptive commentary on the music of Parsifal, which he called a tonal work of art.
1882 Leipzig, 1891 New York Thematic Guide through the Music of Parsifal (Thematischer Leitfaden durch die Muzik zu R. Wagners Parsifal), US edn. G. Schirmer. Hans von Wolzogen, translator J.H. Cornell. German Last but not least, the catalogue of primary themes or Leitmotive that Hans von Wolzogen made for visitors to Bayreuth. Although the names he gave to some of these themes might be misleading, it is generally agreed that Wolzogen identified the most important of the thematic elements.