1. The importance of mountains and mountain climbing in German culture. This grew up from the Romantic period, fulfilling the need for a secular spirituality as well as playing into a nature-centred idea of nationhood. Mountains were important to both Nietzsche and Mahler, and the general fascination with mountain climbing was such that it was a popular film genre in the 1920s and 30s.
2. The idea that Modernism was a moral response to the horrors of the First World War is a fallacy. Atonalism and the Dada movement were both underway before the war started, and any student of art should know that both were continuations of developments of the 19th century.
I will also take issue with the accusation that Strauss somehow failed morally by not embracing the trends of the day. The artists mentioned as being more worthy did not, by being more difficult or "advanced", say anything notably profound or helpful. Nor did they affect society in any progressive way, but only helped to drive the common listener out of the concert hall and toward the welcoming arms of the popular jazz music movement.
As for Strauss's music, I am not a fan, finding it dull and impersonal, but if I had to listen to any of his works, I would probably plump for the Alpine symphony. I like its unity of structure, its variety of colours and moods, and its sense of forward momentum.
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