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Stirring optimism

A new release from the Nietzsche Music Project -
examined by

'... intelligible and convincing.'

The Music of Friedrich Nietzsche. © 2003 The Nietzsche Music Project Inc

What goes around comes around, or so the saying goes. While that is hardly an astute description of Eternal Recurrence, an idea as indigenous to as it is revealing of Nietzsche's complex philosophy, its relevance to the rare performances of his musical compositions has resonance.

More than a decade ago, the Nietzsche Music Project, a collective of professional musicians and literary scholars that included this writer, brought the music of the controversial German philosopher to public attention with the release of two recordings on the Newport Classics label. Until then, few knew, save for a handful of scholars who were themselves unfamiliar with the actual works, that Nietzsche enjoyed a second, somewhat secretive life as an aspiring, if amateur composer.

Since then, his music, much of it awkwardly constructed but fascinating for its abundance of admittedly unfulfilled ideas, has been accorded the attention it deserves both within and without academia. Given that its composer was one of the most influential figures in the history of western civilization, that alone is significant for what it illuminates about its author's character, artistic aspirations and aesthetics. Several recordings, inspired by the NMP's revelations, have since made their way on to the market, but were either amateur efforts or musically disappointing. This was no fault of the music itself, but the inevitable consequence of performers insufficiently informed about the specific interpretive requirements of unconventional works that demand an exceptionally broad perspective.

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Copyright © 2 November 2003 John Bell Young, Tampa, Florida, USA


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