April 30, 2015
I know, I know, too obvious.
Keep in mind that the work existed before Kubrick used it and try to approach it without letting any mental images of 2001: A Space Odyssey “pollute” the experience (nothing against the film, quite the opposite, it is one my favourite films, maybe even my favourite of all time, one I have watched more times than I care remember). It’s just that remembered sequences of spaceships, waltzing space stations and monoliths (beautiful as they may be) could distract you from the overwhelming and baffling breadth of the piece.
Try to listen to just the audio, as loud as you can, with as little external stimuli as possible other than the music itself. Close your eyes, imagine the sunrise. The introduction (Sonnenaufgang) is less than two minutes, it won’t kill you. I promise.
Wherefore a tone poem you ask?
Well, even if you didn’t know what “tone poem” meant before, you’d inevitably have to conclude from the words alone that it must be something at the very least interesting, if not gorgeous.