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For more information, please see full course syllabus of Music History
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Symphonic Poem

  • Term coined by Franz Liszt
  • Basically a work for symphony orchestra that is one-movement
  • Did not have to compete with Beethoven
  • Highly programmatic centered on a referential story and nationalism
  • Emergence of Russian composers like Tchaikovsky and Rimsky Korsakov

Symphonic Poem

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • What is a Symphonic Poem? 0:10
    • Term Coined by Franz Liszt
    • Programmatic Piece in One Movement, but for an Entire Symphony Orchestra
    • Who is Liszt?
    • The First Rock Star of Classical Music
    • Important Figure for Both Solo and Orchestral Works
    • Had to Perform to the Side Because He was Too Handsome
  • Why Symphonic Poems? 2:08
    • Remember the Composers Competing With Beethoven's Symphony Legacy?
    • Now They Didn't Have To
    • Russia
    • A Slew of Prominent Russian Composers Loved the Symphonic Poem: Tchaikowsky, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov
    • Wrote Symphonic Poems Centered on Narrative (Highly National in its Context)
  • 100% Romantic 5:10
    • Grandiose Themes, Tight Forms, Memorable Melodies, Fast and Driving Rhythms, Dense Textures, Lush Orchestration, Wide Dynamics
  • 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky 6:13
    • 1812 is the Epitome of Grandiose (Festival Overture)
    • Has Acapella Choir, Brass Fanfare, Cannons, Ringing Chimes
    • Leitmotifs Representing Armies
    • Example: 1812 Overture
  • Review 10:40
    • Symphonic Poem, Tone Poem, Festive Overture was Dripping with Romanticism
    • Coined by Liszt
    • Contained Leitmotifs
    • Paralleled a Story, Text, Poem
    • Imagery, Nationalism, Pride
    • Became Popular Because It was not a Symphony