Parsifal, eigenhändige Partitur von Richard Wagner mit Ikone auf dem Umschlag

Richard-Wagner-Museum Bayreuth


Richard Wagner (1813-1883) ends the score of the festive stage play Parsifal with "Parlermo [sic!]. For you! 25 Dec. 1881. R.W.", thus dedicating it to his wife Cosima (1837-1930) on her birthday. Starting with the verse epic Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach (died ca. 1220), which he had already read in 1845, Wagner worked for three decades on Parsifal, his last opus and the conclusion of his life’s work.

The ink and binding are the most obvious characteristics of this score. The purple ink which most of the text is written in and the embroidery icon adorning the binding had often been used to convey meanings as part of exegesis of the work. Both are due to the taste of the times and coincidences. In the 19th century, mauve was a fashionable colour that was highly prized in the Wagner household, whether for clothing, furnishings for the new home, such as the "Lila Salon" in Haus Wahnfried, or even as a writing utensil. Any content-related link with the icon on the cover was also not handed down by Wagner. He discovered them by chance in Venice in 1882 and added them as new "gift wrapping".

The autograph notation is more significant. Contrary to common practice, Wagner does not list all the systems, including those of the pausing voices, on each page, but only notes those voices that actually sing or play, a method to save paper that requires precise planning though.