Favourite symphonic poems by Liszt ?

What are your favourite tone poems of Franz Liszt ?

  • Ce qu'on entend sur la montagne

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  • Héroïde funèbre

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  • Prometheus

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  • Festklänge

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  • Hungaria

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  • Hunnenschlacht

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  • Die Ideale

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  • Hamlet

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  • I am yet to acquaint myself with the above delights

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  • I do not like Liszt

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  • Total voters


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Franz Liszt is one of my favourite 19th-century composer. In addition to being a virtuoso at the piano (with famous transcriptions from other composers), Liszt is credited with the invention of the symphonic poem (a.k.a. tone poem), the apex of the Romantic genre.

Liszt composed twelve symphonic poems between 1848 and 1861, most inspired from classical and romantic literature. It is interesting to note that this period coincide with the presidency (1848-1852), then rule as emperor of Napoléon III (1852-1870). Liszt, although Austro-Hungarian or birth, spent most of his life in Paris.

o Les préludes, after Lamartine (1848, rev. before 1854)
o Ce qu'on entend sur la montagne, after Victor Hugo (1848-9)
o Tasso: lamento e trionfo, after Lord Byron (1849)
o Héroïde funèbre, (1849-50)
o Prometheus, (1850)
o Mazeppa, (1851)
o Festklänge, (1853)
o Orpheus, (1853-4)
o Hungaria, (1854)
o Hunnenschlacht, (1857)
o Die Ideale (1857), after Schiller
o Hamlet, (1858)

My favourites are "Les préludes", "Tasso: lamento e trionfo", "Mazeppa", "Prometheus", and "Orpheus". These are the one that bring such strong emotions to my mind that I have gooseskin or suffused eyes. Orpheus is the most lyric and graceful, while the others are more epic, either glorious (Les préludes) or tragic (Prometheus).

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