WAGNER Siegfried Idyll



Richard Wagner (May 1813 - February 1883)

Composed In



20 minutes


1 flute, 1 oboe, 2 clarinets, 1 bassoon, 2 horns, 1 trumpet, 2 violins, 1 viola, 1 cello, and 1 double bass


Wagner composed Tribschen Idyll, which was later retitled to Siegfried Idyll, as a birthday present to his second wife, Cosima, after the birth of their son Siegfried (nicknamed as Fidi). The composition was a celebration of his domestic bliss after years of secretiveness, scandal and longing for a son, and as a show of his undying love for Cosima.


About the Composition

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.


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.

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