The Music Plays On

Wagner, Adams, And Beethoven — Breaking The Mold

Donato Cabrera

Jul 5, 2019 · 8 min read

Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, the Chamber Concerto of Samuel Carl Adams, and Beethoven’s Symphony №7, fit nicely in the current, cookie-cutter format of Overture-Concerto-Symphony that most orchestras follow, as if there’s been an international summit on the matter. However, what makes each of these pieces so unique and special, and why I’ve programmed them together, is how these composers use molds only in order to smash them.

Richard Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll

With Siegfried Idyll, I’m hard-pressed to find another example in all of music quite like it! It was written as a birthday present not only to his wife, Cosima (born on December 24), but it was also written in honor of their son’s birth, Siegfried, and it was premiered on Christmas Day, 1870 — a triple treat! It was played on the stairs of their lovely Swiss villa in the village of Triebschen, now a district of Lucerne.