Like all tone poems, "Thus Spake Zarathustra" follows a "program" or story line which, to some extent, dictates its musical form and details. Strauss derived his program from Nietzsche's philosophical allegory or the same name which theorizes the rise of mankind from a primitive natural state to one of moral and intellectual superiority.
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(Tags : Conductor's Guide to Strauss' Thus Spake Zarathustra and Dance of the Seven Veils from Salome Gerard Schwarz Audiobook, Gerard Schwarz Audio CD )