Who knew? Friedrich Nietzsche was also a pretty decent classical composer – Classic FM

Posted: August 15, 2017 at 2:48 am

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14 August 2017, 16:32

Friedrich Nietzsche argued that the will to power is the force that drives us as humans. He also said that without music, life would be a mistake.

Despite finding most of his influence in philosophy and philology, Nietzsche also composed several works for voice, piano and violin.Surprised? Fear not: Nietzsches compositions might come as a revelation to even the most clued-up classical music geeks.

Nietzsches involvement in music began in 1858 at the prestigious Pforta school in Naumburg, Germany, when he started to work on musical compositions.

He was also introduced to the music and writing of Richard Wagner, who introduced the philosopher to the Hungarian composer Franz Liszt after they met in 1868. Surrounded by great 19thcentury composers, it was easy to see how Nietzsches love for music could be nurtured.

Despite his love for music, the polymaths compositions were heavily criticised even by his friend Wagner. The story goes that in 1871, Nietzsche sent a birthday gift of a piano composition to Wagners wife, Cosima. When Cosima played the piece in public, Wagner left before the end, and one of the guests found him rolling around on the floor, laughing, shortly after. Imagine that: Wagner literally ROFLing at your handiwork. Although, kudos to Nietzsche, he got him back with this epic insult:

However, Wagner wasn't the only one to criticise Nietzsche's work: German conductor and pianist Hans von Blow also labelled another of his pieces the most undelightful and the most antimusical draft on musical paper that I have faced in a long time.


Possibly not the *most* encouraging feedback for poor Friedrich.

Although his compositions were not always positively received, Nietzsches influence on classical composition has been widely accredited.

His philosophical novel Thus Spoke Zarathustra influenced several composers during the 1890s: Gustav Mahlers Symphony No. 3 used the leitmotif from Zarathustra, and Frederick Delius based his choral piece A Mass of Life on the novel.Richard Strauss also based his Also sprach Zarathustraon Nietzsche's novel of the same name.

What do you think of Friedrich Nietzsches compositions? Have a listen to a few more of them on Spotifyand on the Cambridge Press website.

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Who knew? Friedrich Nietzsche was also a pretty decent classical composer - Classic FM

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August 15th, 2017 at 2:48 am

Posted in Nietzsche