Thesis—Undergraduate Honor's Thesis: The Effect of Nietzsche’s Philosophy on Mahler’s Third Symphony

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Description: Peter Franklin describes Gustav Mahler’s Third Symphony as “the summit and watershed between heroic Romanticism and truth-scarred Modernism” (Franklin 1997). This statement perfectly encapsulates the gravity and scope of the Third Symphony, in which Mahler aims to expand the meaning of the Second Symphony with an approach to life centered on the connection of man to other humans, as well as his relationship to both human and eternal nature. Mahler’s ideas about true nature are clearly influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), whose book Die Fröhliche Wissenschaft was originally the title of Mahler’s Third Symphony. By comparing the central ideas in Nietzsche’s philosophy to the musical ideologies portrayed through the program, text, and music of Mahler’s Third Symphony, we will gain a clear understanding of how Mahler modified his world-view since his answer given in the Second Symphony.

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