Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 (Thus Spoke Zarathustra or Thus Spake Zarathustra) is a tone poem by Richard Strauss, composed in and inspired by. The first 22 bars of ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ became a classical hit because of Kubrick’s masterpiece. But Alex North got there first. Andris Nelsons leads the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Also sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss. Inspired by Nietzsche, Strauss translated topics like.

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Old impulses prove impossible to extinguish. Also sprach Zarathustra prepares to take its leave and the orchestra ascends towards the outer reaches of the cosmos. Most writing, thanks to genius film director Stanley Kubrick, about Also sprach Zarathustra begins by considering that trumpet motif.

A Space Odyssey — the scene is set as the sun rises from behind the earth — remains one of the single most inspired link-ups between sound and imagery in cinematic history: By he had already declared: And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? Nietzsche explained the universe as looping forever back on its own imprint.

This is how the opening to A Space Odyssey was supposed to sound – Classic FM

Everything that will occur has already occurred, and will recur repeatedly across space and time. Strauss gestures us in by dramatising the raw physics of the harmonic series. Those open perfect fifths we hear rising through the trumpets are as fundamental to sound as the alphabet is to verbal reasoning.

Aarathustra, organ and double basses, aided and abetted by a bass drum roll, sustain a voluminous, subterranean low C that is both pre- and post-human. When civilisation collapses and man ceases to be a player, those fundamental tones will continue to vibrate, like before man ever existed; the universe forever looping back on its own imprint. An earworm motif — high, dancing, polytonal woodwind music — emerges from out of this tonal whodunnit to reappear in various guises.


And a piece that could lock so much diametrically opposed material inside a musical structure was indeed prescient. Strauss was eyeing the dawn of a new century. If so, I hope he interviews well. This performance cakes itself in mythology: Zaathustra sunrise is sublime in the original, uncorrupted meaning of that word — an unfathomable beauty so awe-inspiring that it terrifies with the same intensity it beguiles.

Rewind nearly 70 years to and, with the Vienna Philharmonic, you hear Richard Strauss himself deploying a not dissimilar interpretative strategy. When Karajan went for a remake inagain with the BPO, the fire had snuffed itself out: But, ineverything came right. The controlled resonant echo of the recorded acoustic fits the orchestral sound like a particularly elegantly tailored glove.

Rarely has a piece been so indelibly associated with orchestral history. If Solti is faulty, Strauss needs Krauss. Clemens Krauss was a Strauss intimate and his recording with the Vienna Philharmonic suffers from a curiously threadbare string sound, although the overarching structure never misses a beat.

Recorded inRudolf Kempe with the Staatskapelle Dresden prioritises clarity of line and texture over the sort of structural forward thinking favoured by Krauss.

Also sprach Zarathustra, Op.30 (Strauss, Richard)

This is a refreshingly individual reading: The recorded sound is little better than functional and dynamic levels become smudged. Which is more than can be said for Gary Bertini and the Cologne Radio SO, patched together from two performances in different halls.


A word to the wise: The fugues have extraordinary ascetic gravitas and the alert, driven NYPO woodwinds exist in another world from our usual view of Strauss. By now a pattern is emerging. You start dealing with the paradox that Eugene Ormandy wove orchestral miracles, the specifics of which are soon forgotten, while a version by Dimitri Mitropoulos with the Concertgebouw Zarathuatra has an intensity that stays with you beyond the haphazard ensemble and botched entries.

William Steinberg with the Boston Symphony Orchestra xarathustra deservedly admired and pitches up somewhere between these two extremes: Which loops me back zwrathustra my starting point.

Kempe is full of surprises: He defies gravity and refuses to be unseated. This article was originally published in the Awards issue.

Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra

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