Symphonic Poem

symphonic poem, type of orchestral composition created by Liszt, also called tone poem. Discarding classical principles of form, it begins with a poetic or other literary inspiration. Although it is usually considered program music, no literal following of a program was intended by Liszt. His Tasso (1849) and Hamlet (1876) are compositions of this sort. Although the symphonic poem better expressed the spirit of romanticism than did the symphony, it did not supersede the symphony; many composers, e.g., Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saëns, Sibelius, Franck, and Dvořák, wrote in both forms. In the symphonic poems of Smetana and Sibelius an element of nationalism is added. Influenced by Alexander Ritter's tone poems, Richard Strauss, in, for example, Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (1895), carried the programmatic possibilities to an extreme of realism, in contrast to the impressionistic tone poems of Debussy, such as Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faune (1894), which are closer to the Lisztian concept.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Symphonic Poem: Selected full-text books and articles

FREE! Franz Liszt By James Huneker Charles Scribner's Sons, 1911
Selected Letters By Franz Liszt; Adrian Williams Clarendon Press, 1998
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
FREE! Music: An Art and a Language By Walter Raymond Spalding Arthur P. Schmidt, 1920 (4th edition)
The Music Lover's Handbook By Elie Siegmeister William Morrow, 1943
Librarian's tip: "The Symphonic Poem and the Symphonic Suite" begins on p. 127
A Great Russian Tone-Poet, Scriabin By A. Eaglefield Hull Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co., Ltd., 1927 (2nd edition)
Romanticism (1830-1890) By Gerald Abraham Oxford University Press, 1990
Librarian's tip: Chap. VII "The Symphonic Poem and Kindred Forms"
Dvořák By Alec Robertson J.M. Dent and Sons Ltd., 1947
Listening to Music Creatively By Edwin J. Stringham Prentice-Hall, 1946
Librarian's tip: Chap. XIII "The Symphonic Poem: Tone Painting, Narrative, and Mood"
The Tuning of the Word: The Musico-Literary Poetics of the Symbolist Movement By David Michael Hertz Southern Illinois University Press, 1987
Librarian's tip: Chap. 6 "The Lyric Play And the Tone Poem"
Symphonic Music, Its Evolution since the Renaissance By Homer Ulrich Columbia University Press, 1952
Symphonic Masterpieces By Oilin L. Downes The Dial Press, 1935
The Symphony: A Listener's Guide By Michael Steinberg Oxford University Press, 1998
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