Monday, August 19, 2013

Holiest Love, Highest Need

Only the one who can renounce the Power of Love, can get the gold...

Other Leitmotif's
It is a well-known fact that, in the last minutes of Götterdammerung, the orchestra performs an excessively intricate cobweb of motifs, basically nothing less than the recapitulation of the motivic wealth of the entire Ring. Is this fact not the ultimate proof that Wagner himself was not sure about what the final apotheosis of the Ring “means”? Not being sure of it, he took a kind of ‘flight forward’ and threw together all of the motifs. This rather vicious hypothesis was proposed by Adorno (in his In Search of Wagner): Wagner did not know how to end the cycle, so he merely spun together a few obvious motifs; Adorno added that the final bars of the Ring (the “redemption through love” motif) were used simply because they were the most beautiful sounding – beautiful in the sense of kitsch, not of authentic artistic beauty.

One is effectively tempted to paraphrase the ending with this beautiful motif as something like the sentimental wisdom: “What does it matter if all of this is a mess – the important thing is that we love each other!” So the culminating motif of “redemption through love” cannot but make us think of Joseph Kerman’s acerbic comment about the last notes of Puccini’s Tosca in which the orchestra bombastically recapitulates the “beautiful” pathetic melodic line of the Cavaradossi’s “E lucevan le stelle,” as if, unsure of what to do Puccini simply desperately repeated the most “effective” melody from the previous score, ignoring all narrative or emotional logic. [3] And what if Wagner did exactly the same thing at the end of Götterdammerung? Not sure about the final twist that should stabilize and guarantee the meaning of it all, he resorted to a beautiful melody whose effect is something like “whatever any of this may mean, let us make sure that the concluding impression will be that of something triumphant and uplifting in its redemptive beauty …” In short, what if this final motif enacts an empty gesture?
Zizek, "Gotterdammerung or The Reign of Human Love"
Self-Overcoming through negation of Will

No comments: