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Five Symphonic Poems That Changed Music


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Neil McGowan
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« on: March 25, 2013, 01:52:08 pm »

Well, what about works which lie outside the definitions of the 'symphony'?

Which works would you say are seminal in their influence on the development of music?

(nb we can do concerti and solo works another time - let's leave them for now? Smiley )
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Gauk
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« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2013, 11:36:12 pm »

Outside the definition of the symphony, I would say the three most influential pieces are all ballets: the Rite, the Miraculous Mandarin, and Petruschka. If you really want symphonic poems, then Apres-midi d'un Faun for certain. That leaves one slot free.
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relm1
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« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2013, 03:51:02 pm »

Here are my picks:

1. Smetana: Ma Vlast influential mix of nationalism, folk, and nature.  Influenced Dvorak, Suk, Sibelius.
2. R. Strauss: Don Quixote/Also Sprach Zarathustra Don Quixote mixed traditional form of variations and rondo with programmatic music.  Also Sprach Zarathustra has probably one of the greatest openings in all of music and mixed symbolism within a Wagnarian vocabulary. 
3. Debussy: La Mer vivid and exotic tone paining
4. Liszt: Les Preludes One of many tone poems by Liszt, but this one seems to be compact yet expansive.
5. Sibelius: Tapiola The end of a cycle of Sibelius nationalist style obscure nature/myth poem.  Its evocative, exciting, and mysterious. 
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Gauk
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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2013, 02:05:03 pm »

Here are my picks:

1. Smetana: Ma Vlast influential mix of nationalism, folk, and nature.  Influenced Dvorak, Suk, Sibelius.
2. R. Strauss: Don Quixote/Also Sprach Zarathustra Don Quixote mixed traditional form of variations and rondo with programmatic music.  Also Sprach Zarathustra has probably one of the greatest openings in all of music and mixed symbolism within a Wagnarian vocabulary. 
3. Debussy: La Mer vivid and exotic tone paining
4. Liszt: Les Preludes One of many tone poems by Liszt, but this one seems to be compact yet expansive.
5. Sibelius: Tapiola The end of a cycle of Sibelius nationalist style obscure nature/myth poem.  Its evocative, exciting, and mysterious. 


Maybe, but how did they change music? How would musical history be different without Also Sprach Zarathustra beyond the fact that we would not have Also Sprach Zarathustra in the reportoire (which applies to anything)?
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Jolly Roger
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« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2013, 06:52:11 am »

It is difficult to point to a single work without more knowledge
One way to determine items on this list is the influence a piece had on other composers and their altered lives.
There was quite a stir among composers with Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, well after its first performance which continues to this day.
The same applies to The Tapiola Tone Poem by Sibelius.
Of course, The Rite of Spring dramatically changed the face of music.
Not sure which Debussy work had the most profound effect,there is little doubt he set a precedent.
I hear Pelieas and Melisande caused a convulsion
If forced to choose, I would have to choose La Mer or Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun.
Bach's Tocatta and Fugue is still setting the course of some composing, you can pick another work if you choose.
While folks may be surprised of the effect of Hindemith, many European composers followed his lead.
I can't speak much to atonality, I guess Schoenberg of Webern would be prime candidates, but  have no idea which specific pieces
had the most impact.
I would would have to pick Mathis der Mahler as the catalyst piece.

I know..there is much to debate here..
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Gauk
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« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2013, 08:39:36 am »

Most histories single out Apres-midi d'un Faun as the one work that kick-started modernism in music, and I'm not one to overturn received wisdom.

I hope you don't mean the D minor toccata and fugue, which as I have mentioned before

Is not a toccata and fugue
Is not for organ
Is not in d minor
Is not by Bach!
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Jolly Roger
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« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2013, 09:02:13 am »

Most histories single out Apres-midi d'un Faun as the one work that kick-started modernism in music, and I'm not one to overturn received wisdom.

I hope you don't mean the D minor toccata and fugue, which as I have mentioned before

Is not a toccata and fugue
Is not for organ
Is not in d minor
Is not by Bach!
Precisely, who wrote it then, Gershwin?
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Gauk
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« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2013, 08:05:33 am »

An unknown composer of the Gallant school. It was originally a violin sonata sonata in A minor, and then an unknown hand arranged it for organ and attributed it to Bach, the better for sales. This is why it sounds like nothing else by Bach, not even close, and also why it sounds so strange. That see-sawing fugue subject sounds absolutely normal on violin as the bow moves back and forth across the strings.
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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2013, 10:47:29 am »

I'm open to believing this Violin Sonata theory, of course - but apart from it being an interesting theory, is there any evidence for it?

A few of the doubts which come to mind are...
  • why transpose it? D-minor is no easier or harder on the organ, nor is there any shortage of register to worry about?
  • the double presence of unknown composer and unknown transcriber seems to add a convenient level of fog Sad
  • if the motive was published sales - then who was the publisher?
  • 'borrowings' of this kind were indeed quite usual in the C18th - Handel did it endlessly - but Bach usually attributed his sources?
  • I can't help wondering how the 'pedal' effects, and spread chords of the toccata section were achieved on the fiddle? They seem - perhaps to an inured ear, I admit - contrived especially for a keyboard instrument capable of sustained polyphony?

Can we see this "violin original" anywhere (I mean, not a reconstruction, but an C18th edition or manuscript?  Can we hear it somewhere?

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Jolly Roger
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« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2013, 03:38:34 pm »

An unknown composer of the Gallant school. It was originally a violin sonata sonata in A minor, and then an unknown hand arranged it for organ and attributed it to Bach, the better for sales. This is why it sounds like nothing else by Bach, not even close, and also why it sounds so strange. That see-sawing fugue subject sounds absolutely normal on violin as the bow moves back and forth across the strings.
wow..That is quite a stretch and a new one on me..I'll stick with Bach. until proven otherwise.
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Gauk
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« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2013, 12:02:01 am »

Can we see this "violin original" anywhere (I mean, not a reconstruction, but an C18th edition or manuscript?  Can we hear it somewhere?

I heard it broadcast in around 1982, and never since, as part of a talk which would have answered some of your other questions. It was a reconstruction; I'm sure the original doesn't survive. But the reconstruction was totally convincing. It was like seeing something first through a distorting lens, and then seeing it without the distortion, and you think, "Ahhhh - that's what that funny shape was!". I'd love to hear it again.
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dholling
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« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2013, 05:19:20 pm »

I'm going to say Tchaikovsky's "Francesca da Rimini." It's not the first symphonic poem written by a Russian (Rubinstein holds that honor), but it's kind of a breakthrough for it clearly follows the Lizstian model of story telling.
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