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Parsifal Story and Analysis of Wagner's Great Opera   By: (1839-1901)

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Story and Analysis of Wagner's Great Opera



Author of "My Musical Memories," "Music and Morals," etc.

[Illustration: RICHARD WAGNER]

[Illustration: Funk and Wagnalls Symbol]

Funk & Wagnalls Company New York and London 1905


This story and analysis of Parsifal was first published as a part of Mr. Haweis' well known work, "My Musical Memories." The interest it has excited seems to justify its republication at this time in a separate volume.

F. & W. Co.

Published, February, 1904





ACT I 18





FACING PAGE Portrait of Richard Wagner Frontispiece

Parsifal and Gurnemanz Passing Through the Ravine (Act I) 30

The Great Hall of the Holy Grail (Act I) 36

Parsifal Entering the Grail Castle in Triumph (Act III) 62


I visited Bayreuth on the 24th of July, 1883, and attended two crowded performances of Wagner's last work, Parsifal . In the morning I went into the beautiful gardens of the Neue Schloss. On either side of a lake, upon which float a couple of swans and innumerable water lilies, the long parklike avenue of trees are vocal with wild doves, and the robin is heard in the adjoining thickets. At my approach the sweet song ceases abruptly, and the startled bird flies out, scattering the pale petals of the wild roses upon my path. I follow a stream of people on foot, as they move down the left hand avenue in the garden of the Neue Schloss, which adjoins Wagner's own grounds.

Some are going some are coming. Presently I see an opening in the bushes on my left; the path leads me to a clump of evergreens. I follow it, and come suddenly on the great composer's grave. All about the green square mound the trees are thick laurel, fir, and yew. The shades fall funereally across the immense gray granite slab; but over the dark foliage the sky is bright blue, and straight in front of me, above the low bushes, I can see the bow windows of the dead master's study where I spent with him one delightful evening in 1876.

I can see, too, the jet of water that he loved playing high above the hedge of evergreen. It lulls me with its sound. "Wahnfried! Wahnfried!" it seems to murmur. It was the word written above the master's house the word he most loved the word his tireless spirit most believed in. How shall I render it? "Dream life! dream life! Earth's illusion of joy!"

Great spirit! thy dream life here is past, and, face to face with truth, "rapt from the fickle and the frail," for thee the illusion has vanished! Mayest thou also know the fulness of joy in the unbroken and serene activities of the eternal Reality!

I visited the grave twice. There is nothing written on the granite slab. There were never present less than twenty persons, and a constant stream of pilgrims kept coming and going.

One gentle token of the master's pitiful and tender regard for the faithful dumb animals he so loved lies but a few feet off in the same garden, and not far from his own grave.

Upon a mossy bank, surrounded with evergreens, is a small marble slab, with this inscription to his favorite dog:

" Here lies in peace 'Wahnfried's' faithful watcher and friend the good and beautiful Mark " (der gute, schöne Mark)!

I returned, too, to Wagner's tomb, plucked a branch of the fir tree that waved above it, and went back to my room to prepare myself by reading and meditation for the great religious drama which I was to witness at four o'clock in the afternoon Wagner's latest and highest inspiration the story of the sacred brotherhood, the knights of San Graal Parsifal !


The blood of God! mystic symbol of divine life "for the blood is the life thereof... Continue reading book >>

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