'Siegfried, as has been happily observed, is the scherzo of the great Nibelung symphony. After the sin and sorrow of 'Die Walküre' the change to the free life of the forest and the boyish innocence of the youthful hero is doubly refreshing. 'Siegfried' is steeped in the spirit of youth. There breathes through it the freshness of the early world. Wagner loved it best of his works.
This unfortunate maiden had been delivered while standing upright, with her elbows on the back of a chair. The child suddenly escaped, bringing with it the uterus, but as the funis ruptured the child fell to the floor. Wagner pictures partial prolapse of the womb in labor.
Just at this time I was joined by Captain Ransom, who, having returned from Granger, told me that we were to carry only the line at the base, and that in coming back, when he struck the left of the division, knowing this interpretation of the order, he in his capacity as an aide-de-camp had directed Wagner, who was up on the face of the ridge, to return, and that in consequence Wagner was recalling his men to the base.
Here we have Wagner the full and ripe musician. As a technical achievement this prelude is marvellous; the polyphony is as intricate and yet as sure as anything in Bach or Mozart, part winding round part, and each going its way steadily to the climax; and the white-hot passion expressed by this means makes the thing a miracle. There is nothing like it in Tannhäuser and Lohengrin.
But he had not cracked at all; in imagination she could hear the note still, tremendous, round, and persistently drawn out, as if it came out of a tenor trombone and had all the world's lungs behind it. In her mortification Cordova was ready to give up lyric opera and study Wagner, in order to annihilate Pompeo Stromboli, who did not even venture Lohengrin.
He answered, 'God forfend! He would not side with the Ministerium, to which men belonged like Valentine Kraft, Andrew Stoever, Wagner, and the like, though they had requested him to join them; that, on the other hand, he would not be in our way either, but rather go elsewhere and begin a school at some place or another." Constitution of 1792.
Apart from the strictly musical side of the question, Wagner had in 'Tannhäuser' a story of far deeper human interest than the weird legend of the Dutchman, the tale which never grows old of the struggle of good and evil for a human soul, the tale of a remorseful sinner won from the powers of hell by the might of a pure woman's love.
He had heard the names of Beethoven and Mozart, but not of Handel, Schubert or Brahms. He had heard also of Wagner, but had never heard any of his music. I was not surprised he should not have heard of those composers who are not famous for operas, nor by his odd list of so-called old musicians, but I was surprised that he should place music so decidedly above poetry.
Pulitzer got from me in a highly condensed form during ONE HOUR: "The Alleged Passing of Wagner," "The Decline and Fall of Wagner," "The Mission of Richard Wagner," "The Swiftness of Justice in England and in the United States," "The Public Lands of the United States," "New Zealand and the Woman's Vote," "The Lawyer and the Community," "The Tariff Make-believe," "The Smithsonian Institute," "The Spirit and Letter of Exclusion," "The Panama Canal and American Shipping," "The Authors and Signers of the Declaration of Independence," "The German Social Democracy," "The Changing Position of American Trade," "The Passing of Polygamy."
Albeit it is obviously all one to Wagner whether musicians compose in his style, or whether they compose at all, he even does his utmost to dissipate the belief that a school of composers should now necessarily follow in his wake; though, in so far as he exercises a direct influence upon musicians, he does indeed try to instruct them concerning the art of grand execution.