1896: A Musical Odyssey, Part II

Good Music Speaks

Young Richard Strauss Young Richard Strauss

In my conception of Good Music for this blog, one of the things I encouraged my readers to do,  was to listen to each piece of music on its own terms, and not ask the music to be anything it wasn’t trying to be.  There has been much debate about what Also Sprach Zarathustra is trying to be, and Strauss himself has not been a great deal of help in narrowing that down.  Programme music, such as the Strauss tone poem, was a matter of great artistic debate at the end of the nineteenth century.  Franz Liszt advanced the principle that the poetic idea was the element that shaped the form of the music, guiding the narrative and dramatic scope of Liszt’s symphonic works.  For Liszt, this was one way of escaping the confines of sonata form and the four movement sonata cycle, which did not suit…

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