Friday, 13 February 2015


“Love is the joy of the good, the wonder of the wise, the amazement of the Gods.” – Plato

For Valentine’s Day today, here is some lush and love-ly instrumental music composed by Richard Wagner (1813-1883). Apart from the operas, Wagner composed a small number of other pieces; this stems from his reluctance to conceive music which didn't belong to the total art of the drama, fundamental expression of his thought.

The “Siegfried Idyll” is a symphonic poem for chamber orchestra, composed by Wagner as a birthday present to his second wife, Cosima, after the birth of their son Siegfried in 1869. It was first performed on Christmas morning, 25 December 1870, by a small ensemble on the stairs of their villa at Tribschen.

Wagner’s opera “Siegfried”, which was premiered in 1876, incorporates music from the Idyll. It was once thought that the Idyll borrowed musical ideas intended for the opera, but it is now known that the opposite is the case: Wagner adapted melodic material from an unfinished chamber piece in the Idyll and later incorporated it into the love scene between Siegfried and Brunhilde in the opera.

Here is the Wiener Philharmoniker conducted by Herbert von Karajan performing the “Siegfried Idyll” in Vienna in 1988.


  1. I always thought Klimt was perfect at reflecting gorgeous Vienna at the turn of the century, but now I think his themes are timeless.

    The question is: since when did Australians celebrate Valentine's Day? I think that a few years ago, no-one had heard of it here.

    1. I remember being aware of Valentine's Day since my childhood, Hels, but this was because of my reading not because it had any publicity in the community. As far s I can recall the major brou-ha-ha surrounding it was in the 80s, when retailers jumped on it as a means of stimulating some consumer spending in mid-February...