‘Also sprach Zarathustra!’, (‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’) is a tone poem by Richard Strauss, composed in 1896 and inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophical novel ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra!’. The composer conducted its first performance on 27 November 1896 in Frankfurt.
The piece is divided into nine sections played with only three definite pauses. Strauss named the sections after selected chapters of Nietzsche’s novel highlighting major moments of the character Zarathustra’s philosophical journey in the novel. The general storylines and ideas in these chapters were the inspiration used to build the tone poem’s structure.
The initial fanfare (‘Sunrise’) became well known after its use in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ and was also often used as a portent of a significant event to come or regularly used for space-related scenes.
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