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Nietzsche's OrphansMusic, Metaphysics, and the Twilight of the Russian Empire$
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Rebecca Mitchell

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300208894

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300208894.001.0001

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date: 21 August 2017

Sergei Rachmaninoff: The Unwilling Orpheus

Sergei Rachmaninoff: The Unwilling Orpheus

Chapter:
(p.137) 4 Sergei Rachmaninoff: The Unwilling Orpheus
Source:
Nietzsche's Orphans
Author(s):

Rebecca Mitchell

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300208894.003.0004

This chapter explores the contradictory impact of musical metaphysics when applied to a composer who eschewed the philosophical interpretations that Nietzsche’s orphans sought to ascribe to his creative output. Despite attempts by admirers to garb him in the attire of a prophet, particularly by his admirer, the poet Marietta Shaginian, Rachmaninoff himself struggled against such definitions. At the same time, the general popularity of the composer’s music, together with the pessimistic emotion and celebration of toska (melancholy) perceived in his works, worried many of Nietzsche’s orphans, who feared that his music was symptomatic of the decline of modernity rather than of music’s power to overcome such problems.

Keywords:   Rachmaninoff, emotion, modernity, toska, Shaginian

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