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Liszt and the Symphonic Poem


  • Date Published: October 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107181410

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About the Authors
  • Franz Liszt was preoccupied with a fundamental but difficult question: what is the content of music? His answer lay in his symphonic poems, a group of orchestral pieces intended to depict a variety of subjects drawn from literature, visual art and drama. Today, the symphonic poems are usually seen as alternatives to the symphony post-Beethoven. Analysts stress their symphonic logic, thereby neglecting their 'extramusical' subject matter. This book takes a different approach: it returns these influential pieces to their original performance context in the theatre, arguing that the symphonic poem is as much a dramatic as a symphonic genre. This is evidenced in new analyses of the music that examines the theatricality of these pieces and their depiction of voices, mise-en-scène, gesture and action. Simultaneously, the book repositions Liszt's legacy within theatre history, arguing that his contributions should be placed alongside those of Mendelssohn, Berlioz and Wagner.

    • Overturns the traditional view of the symphonic poems, an original argument that will change the way readers understand the genre of symphonic poems and Liszt's music in general
    • Combines musical analysis, contextual and historical discussion, analysis of manuscripts and aesthetics, offering readers an in-depth and original discussion of the material
    • Repositions Liszt's legacy within theatre and conducting history, appealing to readers with a broader interest in opera and theatre in the nineteenth century
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… a richly detailed interdisciplinary study that provides context for the symphonic poems' evolution, as well as a synthesis of Liszt's multifarious activities between February 1848 and August 1861 … The trenchant scholarship of Liszt and the Symphonic Poem is leavened with 77 music examples, reproductions of playbills and 11 helpful tables that detail, among other things, the evolution of individual symphonic poems as well as formal analyses.' Patrick Rucker, Gramophone Magazine

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107181410
    • length: 378 pages
    • dimensions: 254 x 180 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.93kg
    • contains: 7 b/w illus. 11 tables 77 music examples
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Liszt's activities as Kapellmeister
    2. From the lyric to the dramatic: the development of Tasso
    3. Prometheus, melodramatic mimesis, and the visual
    4. Orpheus, opera and Werktreue
    5. Formal innovation and dramatic gesutre in Festklänge
    6. Hamlet and melodrama
    7. Liszt's Weimar legacy.

  • Resources for

    Liszt and the Symphonic Poem

    Joanne Cormac

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  • Author

    Joanne Cormac, University of Nottingham
    Joanne Cormac is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Nottingham. Her research interests include genre, reception and identity in nineteenth-century music and she is currently working on a project on reception issues in multimedia composer biography. Her work has been published in a number of leading music journals.

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