Music with Ease > Classical Music > Concert Guide: Romantic Era > Siegfried Idyll (Wagner)
The "Siegfried Idyll" was written in 1871 as a birthday gift to the composers wife and named for his son, Siegfried, who was born while he was composing the music. The thematic material is largely drawn from "Siegfried" in the "Nibelung Trilogy," including the motive from the love scene in the third act, phrases from Wotans Farewell and Brünnhildes Address. With them an old German cradle song is interwoven. The various motives are worked up with consummate skill and with as much care as if the Idyll had been written for a large orchestra. The score calls only for the strings, one flute, one oboe, two clarinets, two horns, one trumpet, and one bassoon. The first performance of the Idyll was given upon the steps of Villa Triebscheu at Lucerne, by some Zurich musicians invited for the purpose, Hans Richter among them playing the trumpet, and Wagner himself conducting the serenade to his wife.