I don’t know what was wrong with me but I was vaguely bored last night, my own ignorant fault of course. Or maybe I was simply waiting for what I really wanted to hear. “Thus spake Zarathustra!” Of course it’s one of those popular pieces that everybody knows but not everybody knows whose it is. So here’s the lowdown.
Written by Nietsche in 1883/5 to delve into the eternal recurrence of the same, the death of god and the emergence of the ubermensch prophecy, themes to which he would return over and over again in various other writings and which led to some fatal misunderstandings by a certain other German. Apparently he stumbled on the idea while walking near Rapallo (some say Switzerland) but I say be careful where you walk! His declared intention was to find alternatives to repressive moral codes,and he was very “trendy” in the period in which existentialism made the underground headlines with young people wearing black sweaters in smoky French jazz dives back in the day.
In 1896 Richard Strauss wrote a tone poem of the same name, the introduction being variously interpreted as a creation or superman theme which is the most famous part but it is well worth your time to listen to the whole piece only around 30 minutes long with some parts seen as citations from liturgy.
Its life continued in 1968 in ” 2001 Space Odyssey” by Kubrick, adapted from Arthur Clarke’s book.. The 1968 film, as is usual for Kubrick, stirred up a hornets’ nest of argument. Rubbish or genius? In any case it is still much remembered, dare I say ,especially for its sound track.