Can you recognize it? It’s Also Sprach Zarathustra.
Also Sprach Zarathustra, a tone poem composed by Richard Strauss in 1896 and inspired by Nietzsche’s novel of the same name, became a mainstay in popular culture mainly thanks to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: Space Odyssey. With the notes of Strauss’s work playing in the background an anthropomorphic ape understands how to use a bone as a tool and a weapon and uses it to, eventually, reclaim a watering hole that had been occupied by a rival tribe.
What we hear in 2001: Space Odyssey is the Einleitung, or Introduction, also known as “Sunrise”, which corresponds to the prologue of Nietzsche’s novel. It starts with a low C on double basses, contrabassoon and organ and the following brass fanfare introduces the “dawn motif”, which includes three notes C— G— C (an interval of a fifth and an octave). Solemn, Epic, and Majestic are the first three adjectives that come to my mind when I think of Strauss’s adaptation.
Well, what words come to your mind when upon listening to this rendition?
Most importantly, do you think it’s an epic fail or just an experiment of simple instrument swapping allegedly perpetrated by the Portsmouth Symphony?