Good 20th & 21st Century Music Inspired by Philosophy?


“What music made in the 20th/21st centuries directly inspired by philosophy is actually any good?”

Kris McDaniel (Notre Dame) asked that question recently on Facebook.

[photo by J. Weinberg]

McDaniel himself is no stranger to philosophically-inspired music as one of the members of the 21st Century Monads, but he was looking for some suggestions after having come across Edith’s Problem, an avant-garde jazz duet by pianist Deniz Peters and saxophonist Simon Rose, based on Edith Stein’s The Problem of Empathy. Abstract, elliptical, and freely improvised, such music is not to everyone’s liking. But, of course, neither is the highly composed and explicitly philosophically-inspired soundtrack to A Theory of Justice: The Musical.

Your suggestions are welcome. Since McDaniel is asking for good music, it would be helpful for you to say a few words not just about what the music’s philosophical content is but why you like it or think it’s good.

(Note, too, that we’re not looking for music with just, say, a single philosophical reference in its lyrics—we explored that here–but rather music that is on the whole directly inspired by some philosophy.)

P.S. By coincidence this coming Sunday is “Fête de la Musique” or “World Music Day,”


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