Richard Wagner: Siegfried (in preparation) (arranged by: Eberhard Kloke)

Richard Wagner Siegfried (in preparation)
Siegfried (in preparation)

Richard Wagner: Siegfried (in preparation) (arranged by: Eberhard Kloke)

Year of composition:
Scored for:
for soli and medium-sized orchestra
Richard Wagner
Eberhard Kloke (2018)
2 3 3 3 - 4 2 4 1 - timp, perc(2), hp, pno, str(10 8 6 5 4)
Instrumentation details:
1st flute (+picc)
2nd flute (+picc
alto fl)
1st oboe
2nd oboe (+c.a)
3rd oboe (+c.a
1st clarinet in Bb (+cl(A))
2nd clarinet in Bb (+cl(A)
bass cl(Bb))
3rd clarinet in Bb (+cl(A)
bass cl(Bb)
1st bassoon
2nd bassoon
3rd bassoon (+cbsn)
1st horn in F (+wagner tuba in Eb)
2nd horn in F (+wagner tuba in Eb)
3rd horn in F (+wagner tuba in Bb)
4th horn in F (+wagner tuba in Bb)
1st trumpet in C
2nd trumpet in C
1st tenor-bass trombone (+bass tpt in Eb)
2nd tenor-bass trombone
3rd tenor-bass trombone
4th tenor-bass trombone (+cb.tbn)
contrabass tuba
piano (+cel)
violin I(10)
violin II(8)
double bass(4)
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The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

Work introduction

Along with Rheingold, Siegfried is the most experimental of Wagner’s Ring operas. The great interruption during the time of composing Siegfried included two major factors which had their effect on the sound, sonic architecture and general compositional density of the work:

1. Composition of Tristan and  Meistersinger

2. Specification and planning of the Festival Theatre in Bayreuth (“covered orchestra sound”)

It cannot be overemphasised that it was not until Act III that Siegfried was conceived with the special acoustics of the Bayreuth Festival Theatre (the covered orchestra pit – “mystical abyss”) in mind.

This arrangement of Siegfried is geared to special sonic weighting for each act:

The orchestration work generally consisted of finding the right proportion between sonic density and thinning out and, at the same time, weighting the sonic balance anew between the singers onstage and the music from the orchestra.

Above all, it was a matter of minimising instrumental doubling, in order to “slim down” the sound and to take away its sonic “blasting.” The orchestration also aimed at greater differentiation between woodwind and brass colours (using cor anglais, heckelphone, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet, contrabassoon, bass trumpet, Wagner tubas and contrabass trombone). New dynamics were also given, allowing the voices more options for vocal nuances and to balance out the orchestra sound further.

Specifics about each act:

1. Act I uses a xylorimba, piano and harp to lend sharper accentuation to the “mechanical” aspect of production in the smithy. At the same time, the dispute between Siegfried and Mime was given a more highly accentuated sound; Scene 2 was slimmed down, adding a touch of chamber-musical sonic gesture.

Structurally, this act already hints at the ease and liveliness of Meistersinger (e.g. appoggiaturas, trills and exchange notes).

2. Act II modulates the great sonic mysteries of the Fafner scenes and introduces sharper contrasts to the Alberich passages, ending in chamber-musical contrast for the Forest Bird episode. The Alberich-Wotan passages are linked to the corresponding places in Walküre and Siegfried I and to the Mime scenes in Siegfried I.

3. The contrast between the chamber-musical Nature scenes (Forest Bird) of Act II and the mighty, baleful tutti sounds of the prelude to Act III (cf. the Unruhe motif in Waküre) is especially marked at the break-off point between Acts II and III. As in Walküre, the celesta is again used in Siegfried (cf. the “world-greeting”) as of Act III, while the sound of the piano is used less and less from Act II onwards. Act III adopts the aftershock of Tristan, extending the palette of the orchestral Klangfarben.

Three particularities of the orchestration should be pointed out:

a) At Fig. 51, the “eternal melody” in the high strings is grounded by a pedal A in the contrabass clarinet.

b) After Fig. 65: to reinforce the ultimate effect of the dominant prior to the “world-greeting” theme, the kettledrum departs from the bass line. Wagner used this device for the first time in the prelude to Lohengrin where, near the end, the kettledrum plays a pitch foreign to the harmony, to heighten the harmonic confirmation when the tonic is reached.

c) Siegfried Idyll, after Fig. 93: a few original motifs from Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll have been added – musical reminiscences, as it were.

Cast of Siegfried

Specifying the Fach of the voices was dispensed with since this arrangement of the work can also be performed by lighter voices, not only the traditional high-dramatic ones:

Siegfried: tenor Mime: tenor Wanderer: baritone, bass-baritone Alberich: baritone, bass baritone Fafner: bass Brünnhilde: soprano Erda: alto Forest Bird: soprano Orchestra: 60 players

Dedicated to MKD

Eberhard Kloke

Translated by Grant Chorley

A brochure with detailed information on the arrangement and casting (overlaps and double-casting options) is available from Universal Edition: [email protected]

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