Iain Farrington

Pianist, organist, composer, arranger

Richard Wagner: Brünnhilde’s Immolation Scene (Götterdämmerung)

for Chamber Orchestra


Richard Wagner (1813-1883) composed his opera Götterdämmerung between 1869 and 1874. It is the last of the four operas that make up Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle, a project that had taken him over 25 years to complete. The opera is much renowned for its orchestral sequences, and these are often performed as concert extracts. The final scene of the opera is known as Brünnhilde's Immolation Scene and it is one of Wagner's greatest achievements. Having seen Siegfried killed, Brünnhilde orders a funeral pyre to be made by the Rhine river, so that she can take her own life in it. Carrying the ring, she tells the Rhinemaidens to claim it from her once the fire has removed its curse. Brünnhilde rides her horse into the flames, Valhalla and the Gods are consumed by fire, and the ring's gold is returned to the river. This is a reduction for chamber orchestra (without singers) of Wagner's large score, preserving many of the different timbres and details of the original.


Instrumentation: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, 2 horns, trumpet, trombone, harp, timpani, percussion, violin 1, violin 2, viola, cello, double bass (at least 2.2.2.2.1)


Duration: c. 11 minutes


Listen to an extract of a performance of the arrangement here


Available to hire or purchase from Aria Editions here