The role of Nietzsche in Richard Strauss's artistic development

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Despite Richard Strauss's long-standing reputation as a Nietzschean composer, scholars traditionally have questioned his command of the philosopher's ideas and their broader context. New evidence, including an annotated personal copy of Also sprach Zarathustra (Leipzig: C. G. Naumann, 1893), discloses a set of specific concerns that Strauss hoped to address through study of this radical figure. The ideas that Strauss sought in Nietzsche-a positive theory of physicality in art; an argument for the special status of the artist in a post-metaphysical age; a rejection of free will in favor of predestination; and an affirmative conception of the Schopenhauerian will-were meant to justify a rejection of Schopenhauer and to forge a new path for German musical aesthetics. Moreover, Strauss's appreciation of the continuing cycles of optimism and doubt afflicting both Zarathustra and Nietzsche would become the central unifying concern of all six tone poems from Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (1895) to Eine Alpensinfonie (1915).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-342
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Musicology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Music


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