Motif 25: Caresses

German name: Kosemelodie

open quotesAfter lunch he shows me his latest album leaf, "an attempt to be American", and says it is the chorus the women will sing to Parzival: Komm, schöner Knabe! close quotes

[Cosima Wagner's diary entry for 16 February 1876]

Soundbytes Nature or Caresses (ogg format)

Musical example: Motif 25 - Nature (Caressing Song)

The example shows one of the themes associated with the Flower (or Magic) Maidens. It accompanies the seductive Komm, holde Knabe, which Wolzogen called the Caressing Song (Kosemelodie). Interestingly, this motif contains a phrase (A) that also appears in Nature's Healing (there as B).

Postcard showing Parsifal with the Flower Maidens

Above: A Bayreuth postcard showing Parsifal with the flowermaidens.

Although the Flower Maidens are magical creatures of Klingsor, they are of natural origin. Wolzogen expressed it as follows: All this happens like a cheerful, laughing child's play and entirely without the character of intentionally seductive sensuality. It is the grace of nature in its full power, intoxicating as if playing, which exercises the enchantment of an extremely agreeable surprise upon the ignorant captives of its miracles.

Wagner's joke about "an attempt to be American," refers to the piece he was working on when this inspiration arrived: the Centennial March which had been commissioned from him by the State of Philadelphia.

References: von Wolzogen ex.15-3 and page 59, Lorenz pp.114-5, Lavignac pp.460-1, Kufferath ex.33, Newman ex.19, ENO ex.18, Bauer pp.80-81.

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