Also Sprach Zarathrustra: Einleitung, oder Sonnenaufgang

Here is a short video of the historic first manned landing on the Moon. I don’t know about you but I find the ghostly images are extremely affecting.

If there’s one piece of music indelibly associated with the Apollo missions, it’s the piece accompanying that clip: the introduction (or `Dawn’) from the orchestral tone poem Also Sprach Zarathrustra by Richard Strauss. Amazingly it was only a couple of years ago that I heard this piece performed live for the first time. I vividly remember how  the percussionists were clearly enjoying themselves during that performance. Not many orchestral pieces start with the percussion section front and centre. Whenever I’ve heard the piece since then I can’t help thinking how much I’d love to have a bash at the timpani part!

Anyway, here’s a clip from the Proms a few years ago to give you some idea of the tremendous impact this piece can have when you hear it in a concert hall.





3 Responses to “Also Sprach Zarathrustra: Einleitung, oder Sonnenaufgang”

  1. That and the bass drum in the Verdi Requiem.

    Here’s another version:

    • Anton Garrett Says:

      Replacing the Karajan version with this hallowed recording in the genius opening to Kubrick’s 2001 is a glorious idea ! I still have my vinyl of the Portsmouth’s first album.

      It was also remarkable that the BBC and Kubrick both used Zarathustra for space-themed programmes. Coincidence, or did one copy the other?

      Similar inspiration was Nessun Dorma for the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

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