Siegfried Idyll

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Siegfried Idyll. Comp. for orch. by Wagner, comp. 1870 as birthday gift for his wife Cosima and f.p. on Christmas morning 1870, her 33rd birthday, and twice later in same day. F.p. by about 15 musicians, incl. Hans Richter (who learned tpt. specially for the occasion), cond. Wagner, standing outside Cosima's bedroom in their villa at Tribschen on shore of Lake Lucerne. Orig. scoring was for a few str., fl., ob., 2 cl., tpt., 2 hn., and bn., but Wagner later scored it for larger orch. Material is based on themes from unfinished str. qt., comp. 1864 when Wagner met Cosima, motifs from opera Siegfried, on Act III of which he was working in 1869 when their son Siegfried was born, and a lullaby he had noted (or comp.) in 1868. MS ded. stated: ‘Tribschen Idyll, with Fidi's Bird-Song and Orange Sunrise, presented as a Symphonic Birthday Greeting to his Cosima by her Richard, 1870.’ ‘Fidi’ was domestic name for Siegfried, the ‘orange sunrise’ referred to memory of how the sunrise lit up the orange wallpaper on the morning of his birth. The Idyll was never intended for public perf., but financial hardship compelled Wagner to sell it in 1877 and it was pubd. 1878.