Siegmund von Hausegger – Wieland der Schmied
(b. Graz, 6. May 1872 – d. Munich 10. October 1948)
Siegmund von Hausegger finished his third and last symphonic poem Wieland der Schmied on March 26th, 1904. Its premier was the same year. The inspiration was Wagner’s literary fragment of that name. Characteristically, Hausegger’s treatment is less convoluted and more idealistic. He prefaced the score with an outline of its program, summarized here:
The power and fame his arts have created do not suffice for Wieland; he yearns for more. A swan-maiden hovers, descends out of the sky and inclines towards Wieland. He reaches out, but, frightened by his singeing subterranean fire, she flies away. Powerless to follow, he collapses, assailed by the paralyzing thought that he who would be lord of the skies is bound insolubly to the earth.
The vision of Schwanhilde fades; a cripple, Wieland stumbles friendless through his life. Of what use is his art, power, fame? The pain of longing builds up to a cry for redemption.
Suddenly, the lethargy melts away. The transfiguring and blissful vision of Schwanhilde rises within him. His strength returns, bolder than ever. His art will carry him to luminous heights!
He forges himself wings of glittering steel. From the sky, the voice of Schwanhilde calls. Free of earthly woes, he spreads his mighty wings and flies up to his woman. United in love, the couple soars into the sun.
The piece is in four continuous sections, lasting a total of about 20 minutes. It begins abruptly in B minor with a short, explosive motiv, representing Wieland’s frustration. Hausegger regarded this as the most important theme in the work; it pervades the music in constant transformations. Initially, it develops sequentially to a rapid climax, followed by a Theme of Earthly Longing in a more lyric G minor. (Cue 2) The irregular meters express Wieland’s turbulent emotions. At nine bars before 3, this combines with the Theme of Heavenly Love. These two are developed to an anguished outcry before the mood changes. …
Read full preface > HERE