Listening live to Christus on Liszt's birthday yesterday, I was struck again by the complexity of the Liszt-Wagner relationship. There are numerous echoes of Liszt in Wagner, of course, but the resonances are probably most acute in Parsifal, which draws on various religious works of Liszt, Christus included. Here is the opening of "Tristis est anima mea," the Mount of Olives scene (from the Helmuth Rilling recording):
And here is the passage in Parsifal which tells of how Titurel found Kundry asleep in the place where he was building Montsalvat (from the Thielemann recording, with Franz-Josef Selig as Gurnemanz):
The passages are scored in a similar way, with muted violins against clarinets, bassoons, horn, and lower strings in Liszt and muted violas against clarinets, bassoons, and tremolo cellos in Wagner. As so often with Wagner, the gesture is at once a theft and an homage, perhaps also a clue. After all, the "Tristis" text contains the line "Pater, si possibile est, transeat a me calix iste" ("O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me").