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Want downer music? Nietzsche is your man

Lived with, then parted from Wagner

Nietzsche: “My melancholy wants to rest in the hiding places and abysses of perfection."
Nietzsche: “My melancholy wants to rest in the hiding places and abysses of perfection."

The name Frederich Nietzsche often elicits a strong response from adherents and detractors. The author of The Antichrist who claimed that “God is dead," has startled the faith of the ultra-religious for decades. Whether or not God is dead and whether or not we have killed him, which Niechsze claims, is still open for heated debate. Many of us may not realize that Freddy was a composer of some decent, albeit moody, classical music.

As a young man, Nietzsche lived with none other than the composer Richard Wagner. The influence of Wagner can be felt in Nietzche’s first book, The Birth of Tragedy (1872). As Nietzsche continued developing his own ideas at break-neck speed, he parted with Wagner and even became antagonistic to his former father-figure and wrote Nietzsche contra Wagner in 1888. Music was a constant topic in Nietzsche’s writings.

Video:

Nietzsche: Complete Piano Music

Jerome van Veen

Jerome van Veen

Behold a few quotes from Nietzsche on the topic of music.

“God has given us music so that firstly we are lead towards higher things. Music combines all characteristics in it. It can elevate, it can tease, it can cheer us up, yes, it can even break the most brazen temperament with its tender and yearning sounds. However, its main aim is to direct our thinking towards higher things, to elevate and even deeply disturb us…”

“My melancholy wants to rest in the hiding places and abysses of perfection: that is why I need music.”

“Only sick music makes money today.”

O, Frederich, if you only knew how far that sickness has extended. We’re past sick and diseased music and on to the black death.

Having listened to Nietzsche’s piano music, I have to admit that the melancholy is heavy with this man. I rather enjoyed the experience but this is not the music of optimism.

In many ways, Nietzsche was a prophet of doom. He held that Western culture has been declining since the tragedies of the ancient Greeks. He thought that Wagner’s musical dramas would remedy the situation but then became disillusioned by Wagner’s megalomania.

I’m not sure if Nietzsche considered his own musical efforts to be a solution.

One thing is certain. If you’re in the mood for a good musical brood then Nietzsche is your guy. Any hint of optimism is quickly quashed, sometimes so thoroughly that it ventures from the tragic to the comic.

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Nietzsche: “My melancholy wants to rest in the hiding places and abysses of perfection."
Nietzsche: “My melancholy wants to rest in the hiding places and abysses of perfection."

The name Frederich Nietzsche often elicits a strong response from adherents and detractors. The author of The Antichrist who claimed that “God is dead," has startled the faith of the ultra-religious for decades. Whether or not God is dead and whether or not we have killed him, which Niechsze claims, is still open for heated debate. Many of us may not realize that Freddy was a composer of some decent, albeit moody, classical music.

As a young man, Nietzsche lived with none other than the composer Richard Wagner. The influence of Wagner can be felt in Nietzche’s first book, The Birth of Tragedy (1872). As Nietzsche continued developing his own ideas at break-neck speed, he parted with Wagner and even became antagonistic to his former father-figure and wrote Nietzsche contra Wagner in 1888. Music was a constant topic in Nietzsche’s writings.

Video:

Nietzsche: Complete Piano Music

Jerome van Veen

Jerome van Veen

Behold a few quotes from Nietzsche on the topic of music.

“God has given us music so that firstly we are lead towards higher things. Music combines all characteristics in it. It can elevate, it can tease, it can cheer us up, yes, it can even break the most brazen temperament with its tender and yearning sounds. However, its main aim is to direct our thinking towards higher things, to elevate and even deeply disturb us…”

“My melancholy wants to rest in the hiding places and abysses of perfection: that is why I need music.”

“Only sick music makes money today.”

O, Frederich, if you only knew how far that sickness has extended. We’re past sick and diseased music and on to the black death.

Having listened to Nietzsche’s piano music, I have to admit that the melancholy is heavy with this man. I rather enjoyed the experience but this is not the music of optimism.

In many ways, Nietzsche was a prophet of doom. He held that Western culture has been declining since the tragedies of the ancient Greeks. He thought that Wagner’s musical dramas would remedy the situation but then became disillusioned by Wagner’s megalomania.

I’m not sure if Nietzsche considered his own musical efforts to be a solution.

One thing is certain. If you’re in the mood for a good musical brood then Nietzsche is your guy. Any hint of optimism is quickly quashed, sometimes so thoroughly that it ventures from the tragic to the comic.

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