Superman the Musical
July 20, 2010 5:43 AM   Subscribe

The Will to Music: Nietzsche's Musical Works The recent 2010 Cambridge University Press biography of Nietzsche, Friedrich Nietzche: A Philosophical Biography, by Julian Young, comes with a companion website with 17 free musical compositions of the philosopher in mp3 and an extended commentary.

"In early hours of morning
my dreams, they fly away.
In meadows mists are forming,
sun greets the waking day."
posted by mfoight (8 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
This is bizarre; just a couple of days ago I was thinking of posting on the very same subject.

I know I went a long way without knowing that Nietzsche had composed music himself and I would suppose that this is news to many others as well.

Here's one page with some more information. Warning -- weird format with German and English mixed in a manner that's quite difficult to skim. Quote:
In 1874, Nietzsche had also sent his Manfred Meditation to Kapellmeister Friedrich Hegar (see Wagner Page/"Triumphlied"). The latter wrote in his reply, [...] "...I had always hoped to be able to personally return it and to tell you on that occasion how much of it found my interest, particularly the manner in which you try to musically express the basic mood. Of course, the whole is, as far as the execution of musical ideas is concerned, lacking some architectural prerequisites so that the composition makes more of an impression of an improvisation describing a certain mood to me than that of a thought-through composition
posted by Anything at 6:05 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Actually, not on the very same subject, since I hadn't heard of the biography, which is why the timing of my similar intention was funny.
posted by Anything at 6:10 AM on July 20, 2010

I had no idea Nietzsche ever composed music. The piano piece Anything mentions is actually quite nice. Some of the singers, on the other hand, make it harder to enjoy the music. It would be interesting to hear better interpretations of the vocal pieces.
posted by spaghettification at 6:35 AM on July 20, 2010

“there has never been a philosopher who has been in his essence (im Grunde) a musician to such an extent as I am.”


I dunno, some of it was pretty, but I wasn't overly impressed, and was a little surprised at some of the religious content. Don't quit your day job, Fred.
posted by kozad at 7:25 AM on July 20, 2010

I remember reading an article somewhere where the author claimed (perhaps facetiously) that Nietzsche could only be understood through his music, and furthermore that his music wasn't very good. I didn't buy the argument but I'm interested to hear it now. Thanks for posting this!
posted by Electrius at 8:08 AM on July 20, 2010

Given his love of aphorisms, I'd expect these pieces to be much shorter.
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:10 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm more excited about the biography than the music -- this is a must-read for me! Hope it helps to renew interest in Nietzsche... seems to me that many of his ideas still resonate today.
posted by vorfeed at 11:17 AM on July 20, 2010

I knew Nietzche wrote music, but had no idea he wrote lieder.

I see the print edition by Bärenreiter is over $200. Maybe I can find it in a library someplace. It would be fun to throw one or two of these into my next recital.

I know Nietzche was a bigoted, misogynist dick at times, but I can't help loving Zarathustra. It's excellent for those standing-on-a-mountaintop-screaming-into-the-storm moments. (When he gets to "On Women," obviously you have to mentally tell him to sod off.)
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:28 PM on July 21, 2010

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