Amfortas (George London; ogg format)
The Amfortas motif and its variants
can be heard whenever Amfortas is on stage and whenever the king
is mentioned. It can be analysed as a derivative of the entire
Grundthema (motif #1); it is based on
a minor triad. Most commentators include motif #40 as part of this
Amfortas motif. I prefer to
distinguish them as two parts of one complex. The melody first appears
at bar 151 in the 1st act (
Zeit ist's des Königs dort zu harren);
where it is played by the cellos.
Roger North, in his analysis of Tristan und Isolde, has drawn attention to the similarities between the first part of this motif (A) and a phrase that occurs three times towards the end of the Shepherd's Tune. Since Wagner drew a parallel between Amfortas and the wounded Tristan, this resemblance may not be coincidental.