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Keywords

Friedrich Nietzsche, philosophy, worldview, nihilism, Christianity, Ubermensch, Superman, Richard Strauss, Also sprach Zarathustra, Thus Spake Zarathustra, purpose, meaning, religion, humanity, anthropology, music

Abstract

This article explores the way Friedrich Nietzsche’s worldview influenced the compositions of Richard Strauss, specifically Strauss’s most famous work—a tone poem called Also sprach Zarathustra. This tone poem is a fascinating piece of music because it reflects Strauss’s philosophical inquiries into the nature and meaning of life. Although Strauss left relatively limited explanations of Also sprach Zarathustra, his few words regarding the tone poem reveal his intention to convey in music an idea of man’s evolution from his original state up to Nietzsche’s idea of a superman. First, this article surveys the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche as it is displayed in his book Thus Spake Zarathustra. Secondly, this article explains the way Nietzsche’s worldview and writings influenced Richard Strauss’s personal life and consequent compositions. As Strauss stated explicitly, he did not intend to put Nietzsche’s book to music, yet the tone poem still bears the marks of a philosophical journey investigating the nature and purpose of human life. Finally, this article suggests a thoughtful Christian response to music which reflects an anti-God worldview.

Article Number

2

DOI

10.15385/jmo.2019.10.1.2

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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