Apart from the operas, Wagner composed a small number of pieces; this stems from his reluctance to conceive music which didn’t belong to the sacredness of the drama, fundamental expression of his thought.
The “Siegfried Idyll” is a symphonic poem for chamber orchestra, composed by Richard Wagner (1813-1883) as a birthday present to his second wife, Cosima, after the birth of their son Siegfried in 1869. It was first performed on Christmas morning, 25 December 1870, by a small ensemble on the stairs of their villa at Tribschen.
Wagner’s opera “Siegfried”, which was premiered in 1876, incorporates music from the Idyll. It was once thought that the Idyll borrowed musical ideas intended for the opera, but it is now known that the opposite is the case: Wagner adapted melodic material from an unfinished chamber piece in the Idyll and later incorporated it into the love scene between Siegfried and Brunhilde in the opera.