Apparently Strauss viewed his work as more than descriptive, but rather "philosophical" --
"in it there is: moral purification through one's own strength, liberation through work, and the worship of eternal, glorious nature."
I believe that through current financial and political strife, this symphony is a perfect way to cut through all the events of the world which may overwhelm. Today we can learn to abide or respect these words. What better way to deal with the overwhelming political conflicts than through 'moral purification through one's own strength,' for one's own truth and compass should not be deflected by everything around us. We should stand for ourselves and walk, as if we were on an alpine journey, through the strife with a smile on our face and our own strength to guide us and keep us moving with grace. Keep in mind this symphony was completed and performed in Berlin and Philadelphia during WWI. That fact seemed to escape the abridged historical guides I've read.
'Liberation through work' - this enduring ethic is timeless. Now we must imagine the work that Strauss put forth to complete this magnificent and grand symphonic poem, the height and breadth of a grand and majestic alpine mountain. His own liberation was through his work to complete this epoch in epoch times. We should emulate his resolve!
'The worship of eternal, glorious nature.' - In the final analysis, this is the one true saving grace for all of us. A common theme that none can deny, a simple base upon which we can all stand in agreement, that the beauty of nature is worthwhile. So to hear this beauty in such a grand and aural poem as the one fashioned by Strauss and played by our symphony is an experience I anxiously await. I hope the experience I can grasp and hold on to, to undergo a sort of transformation of spirit in our own uncertain times of turmoil. We don't need change, we need a beautiful expression to hold on to, a moral regeneration to our own deeply held beliefs, a work ethic to grasp and employ in times ahead. Our liberation will be one of truth and beauty through nature.