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What is It in Prelude to Tristan und Isolde?

December 4, 2009

I just borrowed “Tristan und Isolde” CD from the library and listened to the prelude.

Uh.. sound very familiar. I must hear it somewhere.

In a movie? I checked IMDB and Googled it. In “Wagner in the Movies“, it said Hitchcock’s “Murder!”(1930) used it at one scene. No, not this one; I never saw a movie this old.

So, where?

Could it be some of Mahler’s works? (Don’t ask me why I thought of Mahler; probably because of the string part). Symphony No. 2?


Bülow told Mahler that “Totenfeier” (would become the first movement) made “Tristan und Isolde” sound to him like a Haydn symphony.

That’s the only reference related to “Tristan und Isolde”. Probably not this.

While checking on this symphony in the library, I hummed the tune and, suddenly, the tune transformed to another one.

Wait, I remember this. It’s from Bizet’s Carmen: Parle-moi de ma mere! (Act I)

Listen to this and focus on the part from 23 sec to 30 sec. Try to hum the tune.

And then listen to this. Also try to hum it.

Can you hear the similarity between them?

Or, I’m just crazy?

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