“Without music, life would be a mistake.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche
Manfred Meditation is one of many musical pieces composed by German Philologist and Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Most of his compositions were created at an early age, and were harshly criticized by Wagner (discretely) and Hans von Bulow (openly, saying that his music is a practical joke). It is even said that Wagner left before the end of a performance, and was found lying on the floor in a hysterical fit of laughter. Nevertheless, this was not the reason behind the later rupture between the Philosopher and ‘The Master’.
Nietzsche may have been affected by that verdict, but I doubt he ever knew how Wagner reacted to his music: Nietzsche kept visiting and writing the Wagners even after that laughing fit. And Wagner’s low opinion of Nietzsche as a composer probably had little to do with the philosopher’s later disgust with everything related to Wagnerism.
—Edward Rothstein, The New York Times
In any occurrence, whether or not Nietzsche’s compositions contain any musical value is not an issue. These early pieces are but an honest expression of a young Nietzsche, who, through several stages in life, came to be the Philosopher we all know so well. So don’t be too cruel !
The “Curse of the ninth” is no outlandish term for a Classical Music aficionado. For those who have never heard of it, it is the belief that a composer’s Ninth Symphony is to be their last. It’s as if the composer is writing his own epitaph or obituary. Although this so-called curse is statistically incorrect (a predominant number of composers having composed more or less symphonies than nine), Beethoven’s case does comply with it. But have you ever heard of Beethoven’s Tenth?
Don’t hold your breaths, and don’t be fooled by the title, Beethoven didn’t “really” compose a 10th Symphony, but he apparently planned to. And it became musicologist Barry Cooper’s task to assemble Ludwig’s supposed sketches and create the first movement of a hypothetical work : Symphony No. 10 in E-flat Major. Although many controversies arose at such a “blasphemous” attempt, this first movement contains themes that are awfully familiar to a staunch admirer of Beethoven. But the problem isn’t the piece’s fidelity to the composer’s style, it’s whether or not the assembled sketches where intended for a new symphony. Just listen to it and tell me what you think :
Another grandiose piece that has often been nicknamed “Beethoven’s 10th Symphony” is Brahms’ First Symphony. Listen for yourselves, and enjoy spotting the “Beethovenian” fingerprints, (I chose a magnificent recording of the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Herbert von Karajan) :