Friedrich Nietzsche, philosophy, worldview, nihilism, Christianity, Ubermensch, Superman, Richard Strauss, Also sprach Zarathustra, Thus Spake Zarathustra, purpose, meaning, religion, humanity, anthropology, music
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.
DigitalCommons@Cedarville provides a publication platform for fully open access journals, which means that all articles are available on the Internet to all users immediately upon publication. However, the opinions and sentiments expressed by the authors of articles published in our journals do not necessarily indicate the endorsement or reflect the views of DigitalCommons@Cedarville, the Centennial Library, or Cedarville University and its employees. The authors are solely responsible for the content of their work. Please address questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staufer, Amanda N.
"A Christian Response to the Impact of Nietzschean Philosophy on Richard Strauss's Also sprach Zarathustra,"
Musical Offerings: Vol. 10
, Article 2.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.cedarville.edu/musicalofferings/vol10/iss1/2
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.