The German composer Richard Strauss wrote in the years of 1914/15 his most impressive tune “An Alpine Symphony”. However, the genesis of this composition goes back to the year 1900, in which the first comprehensive sketches were made and the idea for this work goes back to the youth of the composer. Impressed by a thunderstorm during a simple mountain hike, the young Strauss reflected his feelings on the piano by playing. Strauss certainly had the idea of musically describing a mountain hike as such, but there is also the possibility of understanding the ascent to the summit with subsequent descent – the path of a human life. In this context, a purely philosophical approach can be recognised, in contrast to a simple hike. The Alpine Symphony is a proximity to “Thus Spoke Zarathustra,” the symphonic poem based on the text of Friedrich Nietzsche. Richard Strauss seems to have been influenced by the philosopher Nietzsche, since the sketches for the Alpine Symphony are titled “The Antirichrist”, an allusion to the eponymous text by Nietzsche.
The Alpine Symphony is divided into the following sections:
Night – Sunrise – The ascent – Entrance to the forest – Walk beside the creek – At the waterfall – Appearance – On flowery meadows – On the pasture – Through thickets and scrub on erroneous paths – On the glacier – Dangerous moments – On the summit – Vision – Fog rising – The sun is beginning to darken – Elegy – Silence before the storm – Thunderstorm and storm, Descent – Sunset – Ending Night. (Edition Symphonic Works)