Also Sprach Zarathustra (Einleitung) (Richard Strauss 1896) [1:36] 3.7Mb

The full version of this piece goes on for over half an hour and is a musical interpretation of Nietzsche's philosophical work that bears the same name. A musical interpretation of Nietzsche is nearly impossible for many to believe, but there you are.

The literary work turgidly describes the exploits of the eponymous ancient Persian prophet, who comes out of his self-enforced exile in the mountains to tell the world that not only was God dead, but that the very human embodiment of divinity named 'Superman' is the next in line to the throne. The book goes on at (great) length to say that freedom and meaning is not to be found within religion or in submission, but in the affirmation of life and in the acceptance that we are intrinsically free and chaotic beings with our own destiny in our hands. I can hardly wait for the follow-up Broadway musical version, 'O! Friedrich!'. Nevertheless the book inspired Richard Strauss (and Mahler, to a lesser extent) who in turn produced a splendid tone poem

The musical version is not exactly obscure. The introduction is maybe one of the most famous pieces of 'grand entrance' music you'll ever hear, heralding the appearance of the sun in Stanley Kubrick's 2001 and the equally stellar Elvis Presley at his later stage shows. The rest of the piece is substantially less dramatic and follows through many moods and themes, but although artistically satisfying, it's never going to be the same to most people as 'that tune when the monkey picked up the bone'.

I have stuck pretty closely to the original score here, so there are few surprises ahead. Those who want life filled with surprises however may like to check out this version instead.

Instrumentation: Mellotron M400 Playing