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<<  -- 2 --  John Bell Young    STIRRING OPTIMISM


And what of the music itself? Nietzsche was essentially an autodidact, and his music that of a gifted amateur. With the exception of his songs, which are simple and charming, at least on the surface, he confined himself largely to writing piano music. More often than not these works, derivative but also audaciously original, are rhythmically asymmetrical and harmonically illogical. In spite of that, Nietzsche, inspired by Schumann and Bizet as much as he was Wagner, consistently demonstrated an authentic melodic gift, and a genuine flair for musical drama.

Though long associated with the Nietzsche Music Project, none of the performers here, save pianist Thomas Coote, participated in the NMP's two earlier discs (since acquired by Sony Classical which has no plans to reissue them). Revisiting this music with the same acute grasp of what informs its musical content and Nietzsche's aesthetic agenda, the NMP makes a most persuasive case yet again for this oddly touching repertoire that, in spite of its technical shortcomings, gives voice to Nietzsche's stirring optimism (which in the elliptical literary works of his maturity, given as they are to biting irony and even indignance, is often misinterpreted as the opposite) and devastating loneliness.

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


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