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  • A Ring cycle for the piano! Brunnhildle & Siegfried
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  1. 1. Nibelungenlied
  2. 2. Background/History • The Nibelungenlied, translated as The Song of the Nibelungs, is an epic poem in Middle High German. The story tells of dragonslayer Siegfried at the court of the Burundians, how he was murdered, and of his wife Kriemhild's revenge.
  3. 3. •A historical nucleus of the saga lies in events of the Germanic Migration Period, in particular the defeat of the Burundians by Flavius Etuis with the aid of Hunnish mercenaries near Worms in ca. AD 436. Other possible influences are the feud between the 6th century Merovingian queens Brunhilda and Frede gunde, as well as the marriage of Attila with the Burgundian princess Ildikó in AD 453.
  4. 4. Settings: The Nibelungenlied is a German epic poem which was written sometime around 1200, probably in what is today Austria.
  5. 5. Characters: of Xanten; dragon-slayer Siegfried - Crown Prince Gunther - King of Burgundy; his brother Gernot and Giselher Kriemhild - Heroine of Siegfried Brunhild - Queen of Iceland, a beautiful maiden of almost superhuman strength. Hagen - the faithful vassal of Gunther Etzel (Attila) - King of Huns Alberich - The dwarf who was the Lord Treasurer of the Nibelung dynasty. When Siegfried conquered the Nibelung brothers, he took his magic cloak of invisibility and made Alberich Lord Treasurer of the Nibelung treasure.
  6. 6. Summary: The hero of Nibelungelied is Siegfried, the crown prince of Xanten and dragon slayer, and its heroine Kriemhild the sister of Gunther, king of Burgundy and brothers of Gernot and Giselher. Kriemhild has a dream of a falcon that is killed by two eagles which means her future¶s husband will die in a violent death and consequently revolves to remain unmarried.
  7. 7. Summary: Siegfried arrived in Worms (is a city in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, on the Rhine River) with the hopes in wooing Kriemhild. Upon his arrival, Hagen, one of King Gunther's vassals, tells Gunther about Siegfried's youthful exploits that involved winning a treasure and lands from a pair of brothers, Nibelung and Schilbung, whom Siegfried had killed when he was unable to divide the treasure between them and, almost incidentally, the killing of a dragon. Siegfried leaves his treasure in the charge of a dwarf named Alberich.
  8. 8. Summary: After killing the dragon, Siegfried then bathed in its blood, which rendered him invulnerable. Unfortunately for Siegfried, a leaf fell onto his back from a linden tree, and the small patch of skin that the leaf covered did not come into contact with the dragon's blood, leaving Siegfried vulnerable in that single spot.
  9. 9. Summary: Siegfried finally meets Kriemhild. Gunther requests Siegfried to sail with him to the fictional city of Isenstein in Iceland to win the hand of the Iceland's Queen, Brünhild. Siegfried agrees, though only if Gunther allows him to marry Gunther's sister, Kriemhild, whom Siegfried pines for.
  10. 10. Summary: Gunther, Siegfried and a group of Burgundians set sail for Iceland with Siegfried pretending to be Gunther's vassal. Upon their arrival, Brünhild challenges Gunther to a trial of strength with her hand in marriage as a reward. If they lose, however, they will be sentenced to death. She challenges Gunther to three athletic contests, throwing a javelin, tossing a boulder, and a leap. After seeing the boulder and javelin, it becomes apparent to the group that Brünhild is immensely strong and they fear for their lives. Gunther wins only because of Siegfried, putting on his cloak of invinsibility and performs all the actions for him.
  11. 11. Summary: Gunther wins Brunhild for his wife and a doble wedding is performed in the Burgundy. Gunther is married to Brunhild and Siegfried is married to Kriemhild. They had a son, Brunhild named his son Siegfried while Kriemhild named his son Gunther.
  12. 12. Summary: However, on their wedding night, Brünhild suspects something is amiss with her situation, particularly suspecting Siegfried a potential cause. Gunther attempts to sleep with her and, with her great strength, she easily ties Gunther up and leaves him that way all night. Siegfried slips into the room according to plan and after a difficult and violent struggle, an invisible Siegfried defeats Brünhild. Siegfried then takes her ring and belt, which are symbols of defloration. Here it is implied that Siegfried sleeps with Brünhild despite Gunther's request. Afterwards, Brünhild no longer possesses her once-great strength and says she will no longer refuse Gunther. Siegfried gives the ring and belt to his own newly wed, Kriemhild.
  13. 13. Summary: The two queens had an argument and is both a risk for the marriage of Gunther and Brünhild and a potential cause for a lethal rivalry between Gunther and Siegfried, which both Gunther and Siegfried attempt to avoid. Hagen contrives a false military threat to Gunther and Siegfried, considering Gunther a great friend, volunteers to help Gunther once again.
  14. 14. Summary: Under the context of this threat of war, Hagen persuades Kriemhild, who still trusts Hagen, to mark Siegfried's single vulnerable point on his clothing with a cross under the premise of protecting him. Now knowing Siegfried's weakness, the fake campaign is called off and Hagen then uses the cross as a target on a hunting trip, killing Siegfried with a spear as he is drinking from a brook. Further dishonoring Siegfried, Hagen steals the hoard from Kriemhild and throws it into theRhine (Rheingold), to prevent Kriemhild from using it to establish an army of her own.
  15. 15. Revenge: Kriemhild swears to take revenge for the murder of her husband and the theft of her treasure. Many years later, King Etzel of the Huns (Attila the Hun) proposes to Kriemhild, she journeys to the land of the Huns, and they are married. For the baptism of their son, she invites her brothers, the Burgundians, to a feast at Etzel's castle in Hungary. Hagen does not want to go, but is taunted until he does: he realizes that it is a trick of Kriemhild in order to take revenge and kill them all. As the Burgundians cross the Danube, this fate is confirmed by Nixes, who predict that all but one monk will die. Hagen tries to drown the monk in order to render the prophecy futile, but he survives.
  16. 16. Revenge: The Burgundians arrive at Etzel's castle and are welcomed by Kriemhild "with lying smiles and graces". But the lord Dietrich of Bern, an ally of Etzel's, advises the Burgundians to keep their weapons with them at all times, which is normally not allowed. The tragedy unfolds. Kriemhild comes before Hagen, reproaches him for her husband Siegfried's death, and demands the return of her Nibelungenschatz. Hagen answers her boldly, admitting that he killed Siegfried and sank the Nibelungen treasure into the Rhine, but blames these acts on Kriemhild's own behaviour.
  17. 17. Revenge: King Etzel then welcomes his wife's brothers warmly. But outside a tense feast in the great hall, a fight breaks out between Huns and Burgundians, and soon there is general mayhem. When word of the fight arrives at the feast, Hagen decapitates Kriemhild and Etzel's little son before his parents' eyes. The Burgundians take control of the hall, which is besieged by Etzel's warriors. Kriemhild offers her brothers their lives if they hand over Hagen, but they refuse. The battle lasts all day, until the queen orders the hall to be burned with the Burgundians inside.
  18. 18. Revenge: All of the Burgundians are killed except for Hagen and Gunther, who are bound and held prisoner by Dietrich of Bern. Kriemhild has the men brought before her and orders her brother Gunther to be killed. Even after seeing Gunther's head, Hagen refuses to tell the queen what he has done with the Nibelungen treasure. Furious, Kriemhild herself cuts off Hagen's head. Old Hildebrand, the mentor of Dietrich of Bern, is infuriated by the shameful deaths of the Burgundian guests.
  19. 19. Revenge: He hews Kriemhild to pieces with his sword. In a fifteenth century manuscript, he is said to strike Kriemhild a single clean blow to the waist; she feels no pain, however, and declares that his sword is useless. Hildebrand then drops a ring and commands Kriemhild to pick it up. As she bends down, her body falls into pieces. Dietrich and Etzel and all the people of the court lament the deaths of so many heroes