Donald Macleod on the thorny circumstances of Liszt's departure from Weimar and one poignant, valedictory symphonic poem, written many years later, a few years before his death.
Donald Macleod presents a rare opportunity to hear all 13 of Liszt's symphonic poems. Today: the composer leaves Weimar and the symphonic poem behind - or so it seems...
In 1848, as revolution raged across Europe, Franz Liszt made the decision to walk away from his life as the most scandalous and brilliant piano virtuoso in the world - and settle down in the provincial German city of Weimar. Over the next twelve years he would forge a reputation as one of the most original composers of the Romantic Era - inventing a genre of composition that became known as the 'symphonic poem'. Liszt's new form of orchestral piece spun poetic or literary fables in music, evoking moods and images in its themes and harmonies, depicting heroes and villains, dramas and triumphs - a radical departure from the symphonic ideal of Beethoven and Brahms. This week, Donald Macleod presents a unique opportunity to hear all twelve of the symphonic poems Liszt created in Weimar - plus his final, valedictory symphonic poem, composed many years later, just before his own death.
After a decade crafting a new life for himself in Weimar, it was time for Liszt to leave the city and the symphonic poem behind...or so he thought. Donald Macleod explores the thorny circumstances of Liszt's departure from Weimar - and one poignant, valedictory symphonic poem, composed many years later, just a few years before the composer's death in 1886.
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