Surely, a friend loves a friend the way
That I love you, enigmatic life —
Whether I rejoiced or wept with you,
Whether you gave me joy or pain.
I love you with all your harms;
And if you must destroy me,
I wrest myself from your arms,
As a friend tears himself away from a friend’s breast.
I embrace you with all my strength!
Let all your flames ignite me,
Let me in the ardor of the struggle
Probe your enigma ever deeper.
To live and think millennia!
Enclose me now in both your arms:
If you have no more joy to give me —
Well then—there still remains your pain.
Lou Andreas-Salomé, 1861-1937
The Hymn to Life (Hymnus an das Leben) is a musical composition for mixed chorus and orchestra
by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.The composition Hymn to Life was partly done by
Nietzsche in August and September 1882, supported by the second stanza of the poem Lebensgebet
by Lou Andreas-Salome.
Friedrich Nietzsche, Hymnus an das Leben, For chorus and orchestra, 1882
Orchestra 1813 – Orchestra del Conservatorio di Como, 2012
“A choral and orchestral work of mine is just being published, a Hymn to Life. It is the one
composition of mine that is meant to survive and to be sung one day ‘in my memory’…”
Friedrich Nietzsche letter to Georg Brandes, 1887