Wagner’s “Siegfried”: “Waldweben” (Forest Murmurs) from Act II

In the second act of Wagner’s 1876 opera, Siegfried, we are drawn into the mystery and magic of the forest. Gradually, in the opening moments of the Waldweben (“Forest Murmurs”) sequence, our ears become attuned to the hum of nature. A rustling breeze through the vibrant green canopy forms a backdrop for cheerful birdsongs. Time is suspended, and the inner world of the deep forest becomes a serene and wondrous sanctuary.

Jeff Counts includes quotations from Wagner’s description of the scene in the opera’s libretto:

Siegfried has come to the forest and the cave of the dragon Fafner, intent on facing down the legendary beast. While he waits for Fafner to appear Siegfried “stretches himself out comfortably under the lime tree” and quickly becomes “lost in silent reverie.” He “leans back and looks up through the branches” and becomes enchanted by the “forest murmurs.” As he ponders about what his father and mother might have been like, Siegfried sighs amidst the “increasing forest murmurs” and then “listens with great interest to the song of a bird in the branches above him.”

Siegfried attempts to answer the bird’s sweet song using a pipe made from a clump of reeds. It is only later, after he withdraws his sword from the heart of Fafner and tastes the dragon’s hot blood, that Siegfried gains the ability to understand the song of the bird. He is instructed by the magical forest messenger to find Brünnhilde, who is asleep on a mountaintop, surrounded by a ring of fire.

This concert performance from April, 2022 features the Frankfurt Radio Symphony with conductor Alain Altinoglu:


  • Wagner: Siegfried, Metropolitan Opera, James Levine, Siegfried Jerusalem, Brian Large, James Morris, Dawn Upshaw, Ekkehard Wlaschiha, Matti Salminen, Hildegard Behrens, Richard Wagner, Heinz Zednik, Birgitta Svendn Amazon
  • Sir Georg Solti and the Vienna Philharmonic

Featured Image: “Siegfried in the Woods” (1900), Reinhold Max Eichler

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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