As a symphonic birthday greeting, the piece interlaces with the tunes of Fidi’s birdsong and the orange sunrise, both of which were thought to carry personal significance to the couple. Although Wagner intended to keep it as a private composition, financial pressures had forced him to sell the score to publisher B. Schott in 1878. To increase the marketability of the piece, Wagner expanded the original 13-player small chamber orchestra to a 35-player orchestra.
Richard Wagner (May 1813 - February 1883)
1 flute, 1 oboe, 2 clarinets, 1 bassoon, 2 horns, 1 trumpet, 2 violins, 1 viola, 1 cello, and 1 double bass
ABOUT THE COMPOSITION
5 FUN FACTS ABOUT THE COMPOSER
- Wagner was not a music prodigy. He rose to unspectacular stardom at age 29 but only became really successful after he turned 50.
- Wagner was not only a composer but also a polemicist, conductor and theatre director.
- Wagner was the first person to use the musical signature called Leitmotif, which represents a theme or character, in an opera.
- His first opera, The Fairies, was performed only after his lifetime.
- Wagner had his own concert hall, The Bayreuth Festspielhaus.