Richard Wagner: Götterdämmerung (arranged by: Eberhard Kloke)

Richard Wagner Götterdämmerung

Richard Wagner: Götterdämmerung (arranged by: Eberhard Kloke)

Year of composition:
Day 3 of ‘Der Ring des Nibelungen’
Scored for:
for soli, choir and medium-sized orchestra
Richard Wagner
Eberhard Kloke (2018)
3 3 3 3 - 6 2 4 1 - timp, perc(2), hp, cel, str(10 8 6 5 4)
Instrumentation details:
1st flute
2nd flute (+alto fl)
3rd flute (+picc)
1st oboe
2nd oboe (+c.a)
3rd oboe (+c.a
hph ad lib)
1st clarinet in Bb (+cl(A))
2nd clarinet in Bb (+cl(A)
bass cl(Bb))
3rd clarinet in Bb (+cl(A)
bass cl(Bb) ad lib)
1st bassoon
2nd bassoon
3rd bassoon (+cbsn)
1st horn in F
2nd horn in F
3rd horn in F (+wgtb in Bb)
4th horn in F (+wgtb in Bb)
5th horn in F (+wgtb in F)
6th horn in F (+wgtb in F)
1st trumpet in C
2nd trumpet in C
1st trombone (+bass tpt ad lib)
2nd trombone
3rd trombone
4th trombone (+cb.tbn)
contrabass tuba
1st, 2nd percussion (xylorimba ad lib, glockenspiel, timpani, triangel, cymbal, tam-tam, snare drum) celesta
violin I(10)
violin II(8)
double bass(4)
stage music (cow horns and 2 horns on the stage)
More Less

The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

Work introduction

This transcription is based on the forces available in a mid-sized orchestra. The orchestral colours were “modernised” in the course of arranging it by differentiating among the historically given spectrum and by introducing new instruments. I strove both to expand and condense the sound, especially since I of course kept the instruments typical of the Ring (Wagner tuba, bass trumpet, contrabass trombone, etc.); the newly introduced ones (alto flute, heckelphone, contrabass clarinet, contrabassoon and cimbasso, the latter as a link between tubas and trombones) become especially significant as additional dramatic-psychological sonic elements.

A word about Wagner tubas:

In the course of realising the Nibelung’s Ring, Wagner developed the idea for a kind of modified French horn or Wagner tuba (also called French horn tuba or Ring tuba). The purpose was to achieve a type of French horn sound in the lower registers – especially for the Valhalla music, but also generally to obtain a darker orchestral sound. Their bore is smaller than the bass tuba; they are likewise transposing instruments in the higher and lower ranges. Since it took Wagner more than 20 years to orchestrate the Ring, he experimented with the tubas’ registers and notation; in Rheingold and Act I of Götterdämmerung, tenor and bass tubas are notated in B-flat and F respectively, while the scores of Walküre, Siegfried and the rest of Götterdämmerung call for tenor tubas in E-flat and bass tubas in B-flat.

The bass tubas in B-flat are written in the “old” notation, i.e. they sound only a second lower (instead of a ninth) in the bass clef. To the extent possible and expedient, this notation has been standardised as tenor tubas in B-flat (high) and bass tubas in F (low); the full score keeps predominantly to the old notation, to preserve the experimental character. The essential tenor and bass tuba passages are integrated into this arrangement.

For practical reasons, the transposing instruments were handled using accidentals only, and key signatures were only given when the contexts absolutely demanded them (c.f. especially Rheingold).

Some examples of special orchestration details in Götterdämmerung

Act I
Heckelphone and contrabass clarinet were introduced in the Norns scene to maintain the sonic colour; they reappear in other scenes as symbolic references.

The contrabass clarinet appears at the end of the Hagen scene and at the beginning of the Waldtraut scene, thus making the “connecting line” comparable to the parallel moments in the “world greeting” music in Siegfried III and Götterdämmerung III.

Special attention is drawn to the orchestration at the outset of Scene 5, in which the sound is darkened and alienating to correspond to the scene.

The situation at the end of the “Rhine Journey,” as of bar 851 is comparable; in the course of the orchestral intermezzo the colours darken with successive introduction of the contrabassoon, alto flute, cor anglais and contrabass clarinet.

Act II, Scene 1
“Archaic” techniques such as bow vibrato (strings) and frémissement (winds) are used. Targeted division of the winds and strings characterise the sound to the benefit of the mixed technique.

Act II, Scene 2
Varying divisions and omissions of winds and strings are an attempt to “slim down” the sound.

Act II, Scene 4, bars after 823
Contrabass clarinet and various additional effects from the xylorimba and the harp underline the “bottomlessness” of the dramatic scene.

Act 2, from bar 1445: “Doch, träf’st du im Rücken ihn”
Wagner pointedly deploys the A clarinet here, and there is more instrumentational „darkening“ using the cor anglais, heckelphone, and contrabass clarinet (“Betrüger, ich!”); the “Siegfried’s Death” passage is reinforced by applying the Bartók pizzicato.

Act III: the music for the Siegfried figure and quotes from Siegfried and Götterdämmerung
The Siegfried-figure music and the vocal part develop enormously, especially from Siegfried to Götterdämmerung; the singing voice ranges from baritonal depth (Siegfried in Günther’s guise and voice) to the Forest Bird quote in the great flashback.

To highlight and orchestrally clarify these particular points of intersection in the drama, the corresponding quotes from Siegfried (in the reworked version) regarding the Forest Bird episode and the world-greeting theme (“Brünnhilde, heilige Braut!”) were taken over literally, the places marked with double barlines. In this context, the contrabass clarinet carries the sound of “reminiscence,” referring to the passage in Siegfried (at Fig. 51 in Siegfried, the “eternal melody” in the high strings is grounded with a pedal A in the contrabass clarinet).

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. The overlaps and double-casting options are given on P. 6 et seq. of the commentary to the complete arrangement of the Ring.

The cast of Götterdämmerung

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
Gunther: baritone
Alberich: baritone, bass-baritone
Hagen: bass
Brünnhilde: soprano
Gutrun, 3rd Norn, Woglinde: soprano
Waltraute, 2nd Norn, Wellgunde: soprano
1st Norn, Flosshilde: alto
Men, women: mixed chorus
Orchestra: 63 players

Eberhard Kloke

Translation 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]

World première

Mainfrankentheater, Würzburg (DE)
Philharmonisches Orchester Würzburg
Enrico Calesso
Main soloists:
Paul McNamara, Elena Batoukova-Kerl, Kosma Ranuer, Claudia Sorokina, Sandra Fechner, Guido Jentjens, Igor Tsarkov, Marzia Marzo, Barbara Schöller, Silke Evers, Akiho Tsujii, Hiroe Ito

Other works

Sign up for our newsletter!

You will regularly receive information about new scores with free downloads, current prize games and news about our composers.