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The Music Room => General Classical Music Discussion => Topic started by: relm1 on June 26, 2021, 03:28:15 PM

Title: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: relm1 on June 26, 2021, 03:28:15 PM
Not including symphony poems like Liszt's Dante or Faust Symphony, Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique, Sibelius's Kullervo or Strauss's Alpine Symphony where the work is a symphony-poem hybrid, what do you think is the finest example of a tone poem?  I think a great candidate is Cesar Franck's Accursed Hunter.  Duration isn't the point, but rather some of the aforementioned composers are clearly writing programmatic symphonies which aren't tone poems.  By the way, is there a difference between a tone poem and symphonic poem? 
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Symphonic Addict on June 26, 2021, 04:51:12 PM
I'm not sure if my choices are the greatest symphonic poems ever, but I'm very fond of Sibelius's Tapiola and Rachmaninov's The Isle of the Dead. Both works are the epitome of atmosphere, they really describe what they are supposed to express or convey. Another fine example is Strauss's Don Quixote. Its form is cleverly developed and what it is describing is rather clear. Other extraordinary works in the form are Bax's November Woods and Nympholept.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Mirror Image on June 26, 2021, 06:14:11 PM
Not including symphony poems like Liszt's Dante or Faust Symphony, Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique, Sibelius's Kullervo or Strauss's Alpine Symphony where the work is a symphony-poem hybrid, what do you think is the finest example of a tone poem?  I think a great candidate is Cesar Franck's Accursed Hunter.  Duration isn't the point, but rather some of the aforementioned composers are clearly writing programmatic symphonies which aren't tone poems.  By the way, is there a difference between a tone poem and symphonic poem?

The way I interpret it a tone poem is an orchestral work that is based off a particular narrative and tries to convey this narrative in music. I don’t think I could pick one work to be ‘the greatest tone poem’, but I do think there are several in which come to mind that I think are extraordinary:

Dvořák: The Wild Dove, Op. 110, B. 198
Sibelius: Pohjola’s Daughter, Op. 49
Smetana: Má vlast (I realize I’m cheating here as this is a cycle of six tone poems, but I just had to include it)
Strauss: Don Quixote, Op. 35
Liszt: Mazeppa, S. 100
Rachmaninov: Isle of the Dead, Op. 29
Mussorgsky: Night on Bald Mountain
Lyadov: From the Apocalypse
Rimsky-Korsakov: Sadko, Op. 5
Borodin: In the Steppes of Central Asia
Saint-Saëns: Danse macabre, Op. 40
Tveitt: Nykken, Op. 187
Koechlin: Le Buisson ardent, Opp. 203 & 171
Delius: Two Small Pieces for Orchestra (I. On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, II. Summer Night on the River)
Suk: A Summer’s Tale, Op. 29
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Jo498 on June 27, 2021, 11:56:47 AM
Not including symphony poems like Liszt's Dante or Faust Symphony, Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique, Sibelius's Kullervo or Strauss's Alpine Symphony where the work is a symphony-poem hybrid, what do you think is the finest example of a tone poem?  I think a great candidate is Cesar Franck's Accursed Hunter.  Duration isn't the point, but rather some of the aforementioned composers are clearly writing programmatic symphonies which aren't tone poems. 
I am not sure where you want to draw the line. I see it only quite clearly for multi-movement works that are even called "symphony". What about La mer?

Restricting to one-movement pieces of moderate length, my favorite is probably "Don Juan" by Strauss, but I am overall not terribly fond of the genre.

Quote
By the way, is there a difference between a tone poem and symphonic poem?
No.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: relm1 on June 27, 2021, 03:48:27 PM
I am not sure where you want to draw the line. I see it only quite clearly for multi-movement works that are even called "symphony". What about La mer?

Restricting to one-movement pieces of moderate length, my favorite is probably "Don Juan" by Strauss, but I am overall not terribly fond of the genre.
No.

Yes, that's a grey area.  I think the basic approach is if the work has a narrative inspiration, it's not a symphony.  So La Mer is a symphony in three movements because it isn't telling a story.  Symphonic poems will tell a story.  So Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique tells a story but is in a multi-movement symphonic form.  I think it falls more into a symphony because the composer says it is.  Sort of like Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony.  These are programmatic symphonies, not symphonic poems. 
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Cato on June 27, 2021, 04:58:21 PM
Assorted candidates in no particular order:

Schoenberg: Pelleas und Melisande

Rachmaninov: The Rock,  Isle of the Dead

Franck: Le Chasseur Maudit

Tchaikovsky: Francesca da Rimini

Liadov: Baba Yaga

Ives: Robert Browning Overture, The Fourth of July

Schumann: Manfred Overture

Beethoven: Coriolanus
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Daverz on June 27, 2021, 06:39:43 PM
Isle of the Dead came to mind before I saw the replies.  Honest.

A few more that come to mind:

Bax: Tintagel; Garden of Fand
Holst: Beni Mori (that's a 3 movement suite)
Debussy: Jeux
Dukas: Sorcerer's Apprentice
Nielsen:  Helios Overture (does being an overture make it technically out of the running?)
Dvorak: Golden Spinning Wheel

Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Mirror Image on June 27, 2021, 06:49:53 PM
Isle of the Dead came to mind before I saw the replies.  Honest.

A few more that come to mind:

Bax: Tintagel; Garden of Fand
Holst: Beni Mori (that's a 3 movement suite)
Debussy: Jeux
Dukas: Sorcerer's Apprentice
Nielsen:  Helios Overture (does being an overture make it technically out of the running?)
Dvorak: Golden Spinning Wheel

Jeux is a ballet. :)
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: vandermolen on June 27, 2021, 11:33:59 PM
Sibelius: Tapiola
Sainton: Nadir/ The Island
Bax: Tintagel/Nympholept/Christmas Eve in the Mountains/November Woods
Novak: In the Tatras/ De Profundis
Alwyn: The Magic Island
Moeran: In the Mountain Country
Mazaev: The Krasnodonians
Lyadov: Babi-Yaga/The Enchanted Lake
Rachmaninov: The Isle of the Dead
Patrick Hadley: Kinder Scout
Dorothy Howell: Lamia
Gershwin: An American in Paris
Miaskovsky: Silence
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Biffo on June 28, 2021, 01:57:44 AM
Sibelius: Tapiola
Sainton: Nadir/ The Island
Bax: Tintagel/Nympholept/Christmas Eve in the Mountains/November Woods
Novak: In the Tatras/ De Profundis
Alwyn: The Magic Island
Moeran: In the Mountain Country
Mazaev: The Krasnodonians
Lyadov: Babi-Yaga/The Enchanted Lake
Rachmaninov: The Isle of the Dead
Patrick Hadley: Kinder Scout
Dorothy Howell: Lamia
Gershwin: An American in Paris

A thought-provoking selection though only Tapiola and Tintagel would make my (provisional) short-list. I will have to revisit the Moeran, Hadley and Alwyn.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: vandermolen on June 28, 2021, 02:24:52 AM
A thought-provoking selection though only Tapiola and Tintagel would make my (provisional) short-list. I will have to revisit the Moeran, Hadley and Alwyn.
Thanks - I find Mazaev's 'The Krasnodonians' (a tribute to heroic resistance fighters who were massacred in WW2) very moving.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qyjcf7tI_U
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Cato on June 28, 2021, 03:09:04 AM

Dukas: Sorcerer's Apprentice




I forgot that mighty example of tone-poetry!




Nielsen:  Helios Overture (does being an overture make it technically out of the running?)




I would think not, which is why I included the highly evocative overtures by Schumann (Manfred) and Beethoven (Coriolanus).
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: relm1 on June 28, 2021, 04:17:34 AM
Interestingly, no one has mentioned Liszt who practically invented the genre.  You folks find it a bit dry and old fashioned? 
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Mirror Image on June 28, 2021, 04:55:25 AM
Interestingly, no one has mentioned Liszt who practically invented the genre.  You folks find it a bit dry and old fashioned?

I mentioned and included Liszt in my own list.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: vandermolen on June 28, 2021, 06:01:39 AM
Interestingly, no one has mentioned Liszt who practically invented the genre.  You folks find it a bit dry and old fashioned?
I find his music tedious.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Mirror Image on June 28, 2021, 06:02:56 AM
I find his music tedious.

Even Les préludes? :-\
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: vandermolen on June 28, 2021, 06:11:29 AM
Even Les préludes? :-\
Not sure that I know them John, but I had high, unfulfilled, hopes for the 'Dante Symphony'. Sorry to say that (together with Richard Strauss) he is one of my least favourite composers. I consider Chisholm's 'Pictures from Dante' to be a much greater work and truer to the spirit of Dante.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Biffo on June 28, 2021, 06:54:28 AM
Even Les préludes? :-\

I have heard them all at least once (several twice or more) and Les preludes is the only one I return to and then rarely. Most of them I find long-winded, repetitive and tedious.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Symphonic Addict on June 28, 2021, 07:32:22 AM
I do rescue some of Liszt's tone poems. Les préludes, Tasso, Hunnenschlacht and Héroïde funèbre are pretty good.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: LKB on June 28, 2021, 07:47:10 AM
For me, Sibelius tops the list with En Saga. There aren't a huge number of quality videos which feature the piece, but this one is good:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-iarVX4jZ-g
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 28, 2021, 08:02:40 AM
I'm not sure if my choices are the greatest symphonic poems ever, but I'm very fond of Sibelius's Tapiola and Rachmaninov's The Isle of the Dead. Both works are the epitome of atmosphere, they really describe what they are supposed to express or convey.

Both of them magnificent!
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Mirror Image on June 28, 2021, 08:04:34 AM
Not sure that I know them John, but I had high, unfulfilled, hopes for the 'Dante Symphony'. Sorry to say that (together with Richard Strauss) he is one of my least favourite composers. I consider Chisholm's 'Pictures from Dante' to be a much greater work and truer to the spirit of Dante.

That’s fair enough, Jeffrey. I’m sure we could go back and forth with composers with like/dislike, but, hopefully, one day Liszt and Strauss will click for you, but I won’t hold my breath. ;)
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 28, 2021, 08:05:09 AM
Sibelius: Tapiola
Sainton: Nadir/ The Island
Bax: Tintagel/Nympholept/Christmas Eve in the Mountains/November Woods
Novak: In the Tatras/ De Profundis
Alwyn: The Magic Island
Moeran: In the Mountain Country
Mazaev: The Krasnodonians
Lyadov: Babi-Yaga/The Enchanted Lake
Rachmaninov: The Isle of the Dead
Patrick Hadley: Kinder Scout
Dorothy Howell: Lamia
Gershwin: An American in Paris

A little surprised you do not include Myaskovsky's Silence, which I think you ought.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 28, 2021, 08:06:09 AM
Interestingly, no one has mentioned Liszt who practically invented the genre.  You folks find it a bit dry and old fashioned? 

I love Orpheus
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: André on June 28, 2021, 08:32:01 AM
Dvorak’s The Water Goblin




Oh, and Liszt’s Les Préludes :P
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on June 28, 2021, 08:58:42 AM
Does there have to be one? But if I were choose an ideal, I could not do better than Strauss's "Till Eulenspiegel."
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 28, 2021, 09:05:25 AM
Does there have to be one? But if I were choose an ideal, I could not do better than Strauss's "Till Eulenspiegel."

Still great fun!
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Mirror Image on June 28, 2021, 09:22:39 AM
Does there have to be one? But if I were choose an ideal, I could not do better than Strauss's "Till Eulenspiegel."

Man, I love that piece! As Karl wrote, ‘Great fun!’ :D
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: vandermolen on June 28, 2021, 09:22:45 AM
A little surprised you do not include Myaskovsky's Silence, which I think you ought.
Quite right Karl! How could I forget that one?  :o

Anyway, I've added it to my list now.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Mirror Image on June 28, 2021, 09:23:09 AM
Dvorak’s The Water Goblin




Oh, and Liszt’s Les Préludes :P

Great picks!
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: André on June 28, 2021, 09:32:43 AM
Seriously, Les Préludes has been with me since my young teen years and my affection for it has never faltered.  :)
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 28, 2021, 09:54:07 AM
Seriously, Les Préludes has been with me since my young teen years and my affection for it has never faltered.  :)

It's the only Liszt tone-poem I've played in an orchestra for. Won't hear a word against it. Oh, and I've played in Sibelius' Finlandia, too ....
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: André on June 28, 2021, 10:12:33 AM
It's the only Liszt tone-poem I've played in an orchestra for. Won't hear a word against it. Oh, and I've played in Sibelius' Finlandia, too ....

Hear ! Hear !!  :)
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Cato on June 28, 2021, 10:20:08 AM
Seriously, Les Préludes has been with me since my young teen years and my affection for it has never faltered.  :)

Amen!


It's the only Liszt tone-poem I've played in an orchestra for. Won't hear a word against it. Oh, and I've played in Sibelius' Finlandia, too ....


I thought about Liszt later: Hunnenschlacht came to mind, as did its cousin, the 1812 Overture of Tchaikovsky, but other duties called!   0:)  The former I have never heard except in my mind's ear: I played through it with the score. which I found in the Music Section of my university's library 50+ years ago or so.

But maybe it is time to hear a real performance:

https://www.youtube.com/v/6v2Zxq9wVM0&list=RD6v2Zxq9wVM0&start_radio=1
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: relm1 on June 28, 2021, 03:23:46 PM
Not sure that I know them John, but I had high, unfulfilled, hopes for the 'Dante Symphony'. Sorry to say that (together with Richard Strauss) he is one of my least favourite composers. I consider Chisholm's 'Pictures from Dante' to be a much greater work and truer to the spirit of Dante.

It's basically whether you prefer 19th or 20th century vernacular.  I LOVE Chisholm's Dante pictures but prefer 20th century music far more than 19th century. 
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: relm1 on June 28, 2021, 03:26:36 PM
It's the only Liszt tone-poem I've played in an orchestra for. Won't hear a word against it. Oh, and I've played in Sibelius' Finlandia, too ....

I've played Finlandia too and come to loathe that piece.  Sibelius at his worst.  It's his bolero. 
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 28, 2021, 03:46:40 PM
I've played Finlandia too and come to loathe that piece.  Sibelius at his worst.  It's his bolero. 

Unlike Les Préludes, I hear words against the Sibelius Opus 26 8)
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: vandermolen on June 29, 2021, 04:16:31 AM
It's basically whether you prefer 19th or 20th century vernacular.  I LOVE Chisholm's Dante pictures but prefer 20th century music far more than 19th century.
Yes, me too. I think that I enjoyed Liszt's 'Totentanz' by the way.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: relm1 on June 29, 2021, 05:14:52 AM
Unlike Les Préludes, I hear words against the Sibelius Opus 26 8)

I think Finlandia just got too boring for me.  I heard it all the time because it's on every Sibelius release.  It's more fun to play (I'm low brass) so even there I think it might have an edge over Ravel's Bolero in terms of "somebody please shoot me" rating. 
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: relm1 on June 29, 2021, 05:15:24 AM
Dvorak’s The Water Goblin




Oh, and Liszt’s Les Préludes :P

I must confess ignorance to the Dvorak.  Must remedy that.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Mirror Image on June 29, 2021, 05:18:20 AM
I must confess ignorance to the Dvorak.  Must remedy that.

Wow! Really? I heartily suggest all of his symphonic poems.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: listener on June 29, 2021, 09:17:24 AM
SAINT-SAËNS:  Le Rouet d'Omphale
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Mirror Image on June 29, 2021, 11:36:36 AM
SAINT-SAËNS:  Le Rouet d'Omphale

That is a good one, indeed.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: VonStupp on June 29, 2021, 12:12:45 PM
Mendelssohn: The Hebrides (and Ruy Blas)
Delius: Eventyr
Tchaikovsky: The Tempest
Honegger: Pacific 231
Vaughan Williams: Fen Country
Tcherepnin: A Distant Princess
Bantock: Witch of Atlas
Liszt: Ce qu'on entend sur la montagne
Wallace: Sir William Wallace

Saint-Saëns: Danse Macabre
Dvořák: The Water Goblin
Smetana: The Moldau
Mussorgsky: Night on Bald Mountain
Sibelius: Finlandia
Strauss: Til Eugenspiegel
Borodin: In the Steppes of Central Asia
Rachmaninov: Isle of the Dead
Novák: In the Tatras
Liadov: Baba-Yaga
Dukas: Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Debussy: Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun
Gershwin: American in Paris

Some of these are concert overtures and I'm uncertain whether they qualify or not. Regardless, I have the warhorses under some new entries, in no particular order.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Mirror Image on June 29, 2021, 12:34:07 PM
Mendelssohn: The Hebrides (and Ruy Blas)
Delius: Eventyr
Tchaikovsky: The Tempest
Honegger: Pacific 231
Vaughan Williams: Fen Country
Tcherepnin: A Distant Princess
Bantock: Witch of Atlas
Liszt: Ce qu'on entend sur la montagne
Wallace: Sir William Wallace
Saint-Saëns: Danse Macabre
Dvořák: The Water Goblin
Smetana: The Moldau
Mussorgsky: Night on Bald Mountain
Sibelius: Finlandia
Strauss: Til Eugenspiegel
Borodin: In the Steppes of Central Asia
Rachmaninov: Isle of the Dead
Novák: In the Tatras
Liadov: Baba-Yaga
Dukas: Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Debussy: Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun
Gershwin: American in Paris

Some of these are concert overtures and I'm uncertain whether they qualify or not. Regardless, I have the warhorses here too, in no particular order.

Great list, but I can’t believe that I forgot Debussy’s Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune. I need to be bullwhipped for this absent-minded omission.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: relm1 on June 29, 2021, 03:32:18 PM
Wow! Really? I heartily suggest all of his symphonic poems.

Which recording?  I'm currently listening to Rattle/BSO.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Mirror Image on June 29, 2021, 04:01:26 PM
Which recording?  I'm currently listening to Rattle/BSO.

These two are outstanding, IMHO:

(https://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/hc/ht/zae473811hthc_600.jpg)(https://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/mc/0a/l437wav190amc_600.jpg)
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Symphonic Addict on June 29, 2021, 04:07:40 PM
These two are outstanding, IMHO:

(https://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/hc/ht/zae473811hthc_600.jpg)

The Mackerras is greatly performed, but the volume of the recordings are not as good as expected. I'm not sure if I'm the only one to notice that.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Mirror Image on June 29, 2021, 04:43:49 PM
The Mackerras is greatly performed, but the volume of the recordings are not as good as expected. I'm not sure if I'm the only one to notice that.

Yes, I did notice the volume level being a bit lower than I’m accustomed hearing from this label. But I remember correctly, there were some issues with some of their Martinů recordings also having this volume level problem. Nevertheless, it’s still a great recording.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Symphonic Addict on June 29, 2021, 05:07:21 PM
Yes, I did notice the volume level being a bit lower than I’m accustomed hearing from this label. But I remember correctly, there were some issues with some of their Martinů recordings also having this volume level problem. Nevertheless, it’s still a great recording.

Good to know, John. Fortunately the performances do justice to the music as usual with Mackerras and the Czech Philharmonic.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: André on June 30, 2021, 09:23:45 AM
These two are outstanding, IMHO:

(https://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/hc/ht/zae473811hthc_600.jpg)(https://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/mc/0a/l437wav190amc_600.jpg)

They are excellent. My favourite by quite a margin is under Chalabala, also with the Czech Philharmonic on Supraphon:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61cWBxAmPdL._AC_.jpg)

The Harnoncourt recordings are surprisingly good (I’m quite sparing in my admiration for his art, but this is excellent). Kubelik and Kertesz are sound, reliable but unexciting. There are also recordings by Kosler, Kuchar and Talich, but I haven’t heard them.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Mirror Image on June 30, 2021, 09:35:34 AM
They are excellent. My favourite by quite a margin is under Chalabala, also with the Czech Philharmonic on Supraphon:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61cWBxAmPdL._AC_.jpg)

The Harnoncourt recordings are surprisingly good (I’m quite sparing in my admiration for his art, but this is excellent). Kubelik and Kertesz are sound, reliable but unexciting. There are also recordings by Kosler, Kuchar and Talich, but I haven’t heard them.

I think I’ve seen you mention the Chalabala before, but how is the audio quality in this recording, Andre?
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: vers la flamme on June 30, 2021, 01:04:59 PM
They are excellent. My favourite by quite a margin is under Chalabala, also with the Czech Philharmonic on Supraphon:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61cWBxAmPdL._AC_.jpg)

The Harnoncourt recordings are surprisingly good (I’m quite sparing in my admiration for his art, but this is excellent). Kubelik and Kertesz are sound, reliable but unexciting. There are also recordings by Kosler, Kuchar and Talich, but I haven’t heard them.

Chalabala, what a name. How odd for Supraphon to record the same repertoire thrice with the same orchestra.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: André on June 30, 2021, 02:24:43 PM
I think I’ve seen you mention the Chalabala before, but how is the audio quality in this recording, Andre?

Excellent. The Prague Rudolfinum has a long reverberation period, as you know.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Mirror Image on June 30, 2021, 04:24:14 PM
Excellent. The Prague Rudolfinum has a long reverberation period, as you know.

Indeed. I’ll see if I can track down a copy of it.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Roasted Swan on June 30, 2021, 10:22:09 PM
For me, Sibelius tops the list with En Saga. There aren't a huge number of quality videos which feature the piece, but this one is good:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-iarVX4jZ-g

I love En Saga too - but its one of those curious Symphonic Poems in that it has no 'plot' or specific source - just a kind of "in legendary mood" evocation.  But goodness me isn't it evocative!  The Sibelius tone poem I return to most often (Horst Stein with the Suisse Romande is my go-to version)
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: listener on June 30, 2021, 11:27:13 PM
If you want a narrative to go along with the music
CAPLET: The Fall of the House of Usher,  HOLBROOKE: The Raven
LOEFFLER: La Villanelle du diable,  LANGGAARD: Sphinx
by composers of a lower rank that of he who wrote Wellington’s Victory
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: relm1 on July 01, 2021, 03:18:37 PM
What are the characteristics that you think makes a symphonic poem great?  Why is it Sibelius keeps coming up and Strauss or Liszt rarely do?  Do you think the form is obsolete now or is that now absorbed in to other forms like program symphonies or something?  For example, Thomas Ades' Asyla is a symphonic poem if written a hundred years earlier. 
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Roasted Swan on July 02, 2021, 06:46:22 AM
Chalabala, what a name. How odd for Supraphon to record the same repertoire thrice with the same orchestra.

The Chalabala are good but quite old recordings.  Also, worth knowling that there are quite significant cuts in the music.  Mainly The Golden Spinning Wheel (that's stated from emory - there ARE cuts - I just can't remember with 100% certainty which work!)
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Biffo on July 02, 2021, 06:53:57 AM
The Chalabala are good but quite old recordings.  Also, worth knowling that there are quite significant cuts in the music.  Mainly The Golden Spinning Wheel (that's stated from emory - there ARE cuts - I just can't remember with 100% certainty which work!)

I got to know the symphonic poems from Chalabala's performances. For years I didn't realise he had made fairly substantial cuts to The Golden Spinning Wheel (my favourite). It was only when I heard the uncut Kertesz performance that I found out the true length of the piece.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: André on July 02, 2021, 07:59:25 AM
The cuts in The Golden Spinning Wheel were the work of Josef Suk, Dvorak’s son in law. The Talich and Chalabala recordings observe these cuts, which occur in the 3 passages where the magician’s son goes to the castle to bring Dornicka’s limbs and eyes (reduced to a single iteration by Suk). The other tone poems are uncut.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Biffo on July 03, 2021, 12:49:29 AM
The cuts in The Golden Spinning Wheel were the work of Josef Suk, Dvorak’s son in law. The Talich and Chalabala recordings observe these cuts, which occur in the 3 passages where the magician’s son goes to the castle to bring Dornicka’s limbs and eyes (reduced to a single iteration by Suk). The other tone poems are uncut.

Thanks for the info.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Roasted Swan on July 09, 2021, 05:46:35 AM
The cuts in The Golden Spinning Wheel were the work of Josef Suk, Dvorak’s son in law. The Talich and Chalabala recordings observe these cuts, which occur in the 3 passages where the magician’s son goes to the castle to bring Dornicka’s limbs and eyes (reduced to a single iteration by Suk). The other tone poems are uncut.

That's very interesting - I didn't realise it was Suk responsible for those cuts.  Given he was partial to long tone poems himself that's a curious choice! (I prefer it uncut for sure even in an idiomatic performance like Chalabala's)
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on July 09, 2021, 09:24:11 AM
Oh, Lordy, I couldn't pick only one!   And I'm glad that I don't have to! :)

Unsurprisingly, I love Sibelius' and Dvorak's (off the top of my head).  Will give a think about other ones in a bit (Wimbledon is on)....

PD
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: André on July 10, 2021, 03:48:23 PM
That's very interesting - I didn't realise it was Suk responsible for those cuts.  Given he was partial to long tone poems himself that's a curious choice! (I prefer it uncut for sure even in an idiomatic performance like Chalabala's)

It is indeed a surprise both on account of Suk’s own penchant for longish, discursive orchestral tone poems (I’m not saying that negatively, I love them) and on account of Dvorak’s immense renown at the time these last opuses were composed - not the kind of person to be second-guessed or bullied by his publisher or other musicians. I haven’t been able to find out if Suk had discussed the work with his revered father-in-law.

From an article on the work in a Dvorak web site:

Quote
The second distinguishing feature of Dvorak’s symphonic poems is their focus on details. While the common conception of the symphonic poem is centred on its fundamental mood, the outline of its story or a general idea, Dvorak takes a magnifying glass to Erben’s text. Certain interpretations will claim that this approach interferes with the form, which becomes fragmented, given the disproportionate attention to detail, and the piece as a whole suffers as a result. This concerns, in particular, The Golden Spinning Wheel,* in which Dvorak even has three repetitions of the same plot fragment (the exchange of individual parts of the spinning wheel for the dead girl’s hands, feet and eyes), which finds its justification in the story, but is superfluous from a purely musical point of view.

(…)
From a formal point of view, the symphonic poem The Golden Spinning Wheel is the most complex of the tetralogy, a fact determined by the textual model which comprises an intricate plot with various details, moreover, extending over a lengthy period of time. Dvorak’s musical setting therefore does not attempt to conform to some customary musical form; instead it follows the story more or less descriptively, just as Erben presents it. This trait was once seen as the work’s weak point, and so Dvorak’s pupil and son-in-law Josef Suk endeavoured to eliminate this alleged failing by making deletions in the score. Apart from the three superfluous repetitions of the scene depicting the exchange of individual parts of the spinning wheel for the dead girl’s hands, feet and eyes, other passages were also deleted, whose absence is, on the contrary, detrimental to the work (the striking melodies and unusual treatment of the wedding scene). The work was subsequently regularly performed in this version, but recent times have seen a return to Dvorak’s original score (or a combination of both versions)

Full article:
http://www.antonin-dvorak.cz/en/golden-spinning-wheel (http://www.antonin-dvorak.cz/en/golden-spinning-wheel)

(*: this particularly irked Eduard Hanslick, a vehement opponent of program music).

Dvorak conducted the work 4 times in 1897-98, presumably complete. He died 6 years later (1904). It is not clear when Suk edited the work, before or after Dvorak’s death? In any case, this curious history does not detract from the very real musical qualities of Chalabala’s interpretation - or Talich’s for that matter, who is more dramatic but less poetic and rather poorly recorded.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on July 11, 2021, 04:09:08 AM
It is indeed a surprise both on account of Suk’s own penchant for longish, discursive orchestral tone poems (I’m not saying that negatively, I love them) and on account of Dvorak’s immense renown at the time these last opuses were composed - not the kind of person to be second-guessed or bullied by his publisher or other musicians. I haven’t been able to find out if Suk had discussed the work with his revered father-in-law.

From an article on the work in a Dvorak web site:

Full article:
http://www.antonin-dvorak.cz/en/golden-spinning-wheel (http://www.antonin-dvorak.cz/en/golden-spinning-wheel)

(*: this particularly irked Eduard Hanslick, a vehement opponent of program music).

Dvorak conducted the work 4 times in 1897-98, presumably complete. He died 6 years later (1904). It is not clear when Suk edited the work, before or after Dvorak’s death? In any case, this curious history does not detract from the very real musical qualities of Chalabala’s interpretation - or Talich’s for that matter, who is more dramatic but less poetic and rather poorly recorded.
Thank you so much André for providing that information; I hadn't known that.  Interesting to ponder.  I'll have to revisit it soon.  :)

PD
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Mirror Image on July 11, 2021, 05:44:21 AM
Reading these comments on Chalabala’s recording of Dvořák’s symphonic poems is certainly whetting my appetite and I can’t wait to receive that disc.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 11, 2021, 11:18:20 AM
I don't know if it's the greatest of the lot, but Dukas’ L’apprenti sorcier was the first I got to know well, and I still love it.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: André on July 11, 2021, 01:44:50 PM
I don't know if it's the greatest of the lot, but Dukas’ L’apprenti sorcier was the first I got to know well, and I still love it.

With good reason: the little bugger is always up for extra innings - I never tire of hearing it.  :D
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: relm1 on July 11, 2021, 02:16:23 PM
I don't know if it's the greatest of the lot, but Dukas’ L’apprenti sorcier was the first I got to know well, and I still love it.

It's a fine work.  A pity he didn't write more.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 11, 2021, 02:57:26 PM
It's a fine work.  A pity he didn't write more.

Yes, I love La Péri, as well.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Mirror Image on July 11, 2021, 06:21:11 PM
It's a fine work.  A pity he didn't write more.

I’m sure he wrote more, but burned it soon afterwards. >:D
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on July 12, 2021, 12:55:21 AM
I don't know if it's the greatest of the lot, but Dukas’ L’apprenti sorcier was the first I got to know well, and I still love it.

With good reason: the little bugger is always up for extra innings - I never tire of hearing it.  :D

It's a fine work.  A pity he didn't write more.

Disney and Mickey were my first introduction to this work; I was quickly hooked!   :)

PD
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Maestro267 on July 12, 2021, 03:27:45 AM
Plenty of recommendations in here for tone poems I haven't heard yet, so thanks for those. At the moment, some of my favourites are:

Tchaikovsky: The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, Francesca da Rimini
R. Strauss: Tod und Verklärung, Also sprach Zarathustra, Ein Heldenleben
Suk: Ripening
Villa-Lobos: Uirapuru
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Mirror Image on July 12, 2021, 12:12:38 PM
Plenty of recommendations in here for tone poems I haven't heard yet, so thanks for those. At the moment, some of my favourites are:

Tchaikovsky: The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, Francesca da Rimini
R. Strauss: Tod und Verklärung, Also sprach Zarathustra, Ein Heldenleben
Suk: Ripening
Villa-Lobos: Uirapuru

What are some works that were mentioned that you haven’t heard but would like to?
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Roasted Swan on July 12, 2021, 12:43:10 PM
It is indeed a surprise both on account of Suk’s own penchant for longish, discursive orchestral tone poems (I’m not saying that negatively, I love them) and on account of Dvorak’s immense renown at the time these last opuses were composed - not the kind of person to be second-guessed or bullied by his publisher or other musicians. I haven’t been able to find out if Suk had discussed the work with his revered father-in-law.

From an article on the work in a Dvorak web site:

Full article:
http://www.antonin-dvorak.cz/en/golden-spinning-wheel (http://www.antonin-dvorak.cz/en/golden-spinning-wheel)

(*: this particularly irked Eduard Hanslick, a vehement opponent of program music).

Dvorak conducted the work 4 times in 1897-98, presumably complete. He died 6 years later (1904). It is not clear when Suk edited the work, before or after Dvorak’s death? In any case, this curious history does not detract from the very real musical qualities of Chalabala’s interpretation - or Talich’s for that matter, who is more dramatic but less poetic and rather poorly recorded.

thankyou for all that extra detail - absolutely fascinating.  My default position is always to trust the composer - even if you don't like it, they had a reason for doing it the way they did!  I like the idea of Dvorak following the narrative rather than symphonic form - it challenges the conventions.  The challenge for the interpreter/performer is to make the non-conventional effective for a listener......
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: krummholz on July 12, 2021, 05:02:49 PM
Nice topic! At least two or three of Brian's symphonies seem to fit the definition being used here as they have strongly literary inspirations - the 6th (Sinfonia Tragica), the 12th, and the 30th. Of these I consider the 30th my single favorite (and actually of all Brian's symphonies as well), but the one that I feel is better characterised as a symphonic poem rather than an actual symphony is the Tragica, based on music for an opera based on a Synge play that Brian had to abandon because of copyright issues. Very evocative and moving.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: relm1 on July 13, 2021, 04:57:00 AM
Plenty of recommendations in here for tone poems I haven't heard yet, so thanks for those. At the moment, some of my favourites are:

Tchaikovsky: The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, Francesca da Rimini
R. Strauss: Tod und Verklärung, Also sprach Zarathustra, Ein Heldenleben
Suk: Ripening
Villa-Lobos: Uirapuru

I forget Tchaikovsky's very fine entries.  Suk's Ripening is a favorite as well.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: relm1 on July 13, 2021, 04:58:31 AM
Nice topic! At least two or three of Brian's symphonies seem to fit the definition being used here as they have strongly literary inspirations - the 6th (Sinfonia Tragica), the 12th, and the 30th. Of these I consider the 30th my single favorite (and actually of all Brian's symphonies as well), but the one that I feel is better characterised as a symphonic poem rather than an actual symphony is the Tragica, based on music for an opera based on a Synge play that Brian had to abandon because of copyright issues. Very evocative and moving.

I always forget but isn't the 12th the one that is actually the prologue from his opera, Agamemnon?  Or is that the 11?
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: krummholz on July 13, 2021, 07:25:48 AM
I always forget but isn't the 12th the one that is actually the prologue from his opera, Agamemnon?  Or is that the 11?

No, you didn't forget! It is indeed the 12th.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Maestro267 on July 14, 2021, 06:39:23 AM
What are some works that were mentioned that you haven’t heard but would like to?

I'm giving Koechlin's Le buisson ardent a go now. The Krasnodonians looks interesting too
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Mirror Image on July 14, 2021, 06:43:20 AM
I'm giving Koechlin's Le buisson ardent a go now.

8) Let me know what you think whenever you get the chance. I find this to be one of Koechlin’s best orchestral works.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Maestro267 on July 15, 2021, 01:45:39 AM
Yeah, I enjoyed it a lot! Fascinating orchestration. I found liner notes from another recording which confirmed the sound I heard at the beginning of Part 2 to be the wonderful ondes Martenot. It also said there are 5 saxophones (which I couldn't hear) and organ (which I very much COULD hear, again wonderful.)
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: relm1 on July 15, 2021, 04:49:49 AM
Yeah, I enjoyed it a lot! Fascinating orchestration. I found liner notes from another recording which confirmed the sound I heard at the beginning of Part 2 to be the wonderful ondes Martenot. It also said there are 5 saxophones (which I couldn't hear) and organ (which I very much COULD hear, again wonderful.)

Fascinating.  Never heard the work so I've added it to my listening list.
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: relm1 on July 17, 2021, 03:42:34 PM
Yeah, I enjoyed it a lot! Fascinating orchestration. I found liner notes from another recording which confirmed the sound I heard at the beginning of Part 2 to be the wonderful ondes Martenot. It also said there are 5 saxophones (which I couldn't hear) and organ (which I very much COULD hear, again wonderful.)

I thought this was a fantastic release.  I was surprised by how contemporary it sounded.  Gorgeous, refined, expertly orchestrated, exotic, but also quite sophisticated.  I will certainly explore his music further because I loved this release!  Even the early "La course de printemps, op. 95" dating from 1908 was amazing sophisticated.  It felt like something that could have been written today!  Lovely music and I look forward to exploring this composer further! 
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on July 18, 2021, 02:46:04 AM
For me, Sibelius tops the list with En Saga. There aren't a huge number of quality videos which feature the piece, but this one is good:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-iarVX4jZ-g
Thanks for that link; I enjoyed the performance.  I have several recordings of it, but have never seen it performed before, so that was nice!

PD
Title: Re: What is the greatest symphonic poem?
Post by: LKB on July 18, 2021, 07:05:09 PM
Thanks for that link; I enjoyed the performance.  I have several recordings of it, but have never seen it performed before, so that was nice!

PD

Glad you enjoyed it!