Also sprach Zarathustra was composed in , the year in which Strauss became chief conductor of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. Thus, the premiere was given in Frankfurt, with the composer conducting. The fiery debate that swirled around the score when it was new was caused less by the music than by the conflicting programs Strauss proposed at varying times as its subject matter. Man feels the power of God. Andante religioso.
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Strauss named the sections after selected chapters of the book:. The piece starts with a sustained double low C on the double basses, contrabassoon and organ. On its first appearance, the motif is a part of the first five notes of the natural overtone series: octave, octave and fifth, two octaves, two octaves and major third played as part of a C major chord with the third doubled.
The major third is immediately changed to a minor third, which is the first note played in the work E flat that is not part of the overtone series. It is one of the very few sections in the orchestral literature where the basses must play a contra-b lowest b on a piano.
One of the major compositional themes of the piece is the contrast between the keys of B major, representing humanity, and C major, representing the universe. Because B and C are adjacent notes, these keys are tonally dissimilar: B major uses five sharps, while C major has none. There are two opinions about the World riddle theme. The ending of the composition has been described:. But the riddle is not solved. The tone-poem ends enigmatically in two keys, the Nature-motif plucked softly, by the basses in its original key of C—and above the woodwinds, in the key of B major.
In , Strauss conducted the Vienna Philharmonic in an experimental high fidelity recording of the piece, made on a German Magnetophon tape recorder. The recording of the opening fanfare used for the film A Space Odyssey was performed by Vienna Philharmonic and conducted by Herbert von Karajan. Elvis Presley used the opening fanfare as the opening piece in his concerts between and his death in , and as the introduction to several of his live albums, including Elvis: As Recorded At Madison Square Garden , Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite , and Elvis in Concert Skip to main content.
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Thus Spoke Zarathustra was conceived while Nietzsche was writing The Gay Science ; he made a small note, reading "6, feet beyond man and time", as evidence of this. Nietzsche planned to write the book in three parts over several years. Although Part Three was originally planned to be the end of the book, and ends with a strong climax , Nietzsche subsequently decided to write an additional three parts; ultimately, however, he composed only the fourth part, which is viewed to constitute an intermezzo. Nietzsche commented in Ecce Homo that for the completion of each part: "Ten days sufficed; in no case, neither for the first nor for the third and last, did I require more" trans. The first three parts were first published separately, and were subsequently published in a single volume in The fourth part remained private after Nietzsche wrote it in ; a scant forty copies were all that were printed, apart from seven others that were distributed to Nietzsche's close friends.
Also sprach Zarathustra , Op. A typical performance lasts half an hour. The work is orchestrated for piccolo , 3 flutes 3rd doubling piccolo , 3 oboes , English horn , clarinet in E-flat , 2 clarinets in B-flat, bass clarinet in B-flat, 3 bassoons , contrabassoon , 6 horns in F and E, 4 trumpets in C and E, 3 trombones , 2 tubas , timpani , bass drum , cymbals , triangle , glockenspiel , bell on low E, organ , and strings : 2 harps , violins I, II 16 each , violas 12 , cellos 12 , and double basses 8 with low B string. The piece is divided into nine sections played with only three definite pauses.
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