Richard Strauss’s An Alpine Symphony (1915) …

What a theme tune! And oh so ‘modern.’ Pick it up at 22:50 to 26:00 and enjoy the musical thread of The Fugitive Stag.

Richard Strauss: Eine Alpensinfonie Op.64 (An Alpine Symphonie) (Karajan) via @YouTube

The great Russian born conductor Semyon Bychkov writes – The core of The Alpine Symphony is human life and what one goes through in it, with the joys and the sorrows and struggle and achievement. So, it is deeply existential. Doesn’t it happen in life all the time? How many detours every one of us makes in life? Think beyond that actual physical experience of going through the bushes (eg), think of it as a metaphor.

We spend our lifetime trying to figure out why we’re here.  Bychkov believes the Alpine Symphony offers some answers. “I can’t live without it. It tells me about our world, our reason to live. It is a guide to life for sure.” Hear! Hear!

It was Richard Strauss’s ‘Thus spoke Zarathustra’ – inspired by the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche – that was used as the theme tune for Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey, way back in 1968!.

Much more about the ‘fugitive stag’s’ musical score in future blogs.

Richard Strauss 1864 -1949
Friedrich Nietzsche 1864 aged 20

The ‘apocalyptic’ opening scene …

From W B Yeats ‘Hound Voice’ –

“And in that terror’s name obeyed the call, And understood, what none have understood, Those images that waken in the blood.”

But ‘Stag’ is a celebration, even in death, of Medb’s (Medusa) power and beauty, and of the battle that looms on the horizon … the Feminine Apocalypse.

As in Blake’s ‘Vala’, or The Four Zoas (1797 …) and Shelley’s poem on the Medusa (1824), the opening scene turns Medb’s death into an apocalyptic event, distinguishing the forces of heaven and earth, of light and darkness.

But it is an Apocalypse where opposites are not in opposition but are struggling to attain balance. Medb’s beauty heals but it is a healing that entails embracing the reality of death and destruction, in order to transform a violent and corrupt form of civilization. She demands a total contemptus mundi and challenges us to look within and place our faith in that unknown divinity, our own buried lives.

Anonymous Flemish Master (c17)