Franz Liszt

Festklänge (I & II), symphonic poem for orchestra, S. 101, (LW G10)

    Description by Margaret Godfrey

    Franz Liszt was the inventor of the symphonic poem (also known as the tone poem), a form in which a literary or other nonmusical source provides a narrative foundation for a single-movement orchestral work. Liszt's symphonic poems, however, were not exclusively dependent on their source material: the composer's goal was more to distill the essence of the poetic concept in music rather than to exactly recreate it. Festklänge (1853) is the seventh of the twelve symphonic poems Liszt wrote during his tenure as Grand Ducal Director of Music Extraordinary at Weimar. All twelve works are dedicated to Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein.

    The "festive sounds" suggested by the title Festklänge refer to the celebrations which were to attend the upcoming marriage of Liszt and the Princess Sayn-Wittgenstein. The work, in fact, was intended as a wedding march for the occasion; at the last moment, however, the Pope refused to grant the Princess the divorce she had sought in order to wed the composer, and the marriage never took place.

    Festklänge begins with a percussion and woodwind fanfare, followed by a rising trumpet figure and the introduction of the main theme in the clarinets, bassoons and strings. The middle section includes both a polonaise in tribute to the Princess's Polish extraction and music in the manner of a verbunkos, alluding to the composer's own Hungarian descent.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2013 NCA 60260
    2012 NCA 60255
    2011 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon / DG Deutsche Grammophon 002894779525
    2010 Decca 4782309
    2010 Decca 478 2309
    2010 Decca
    2009 Decca
    2007 Chandos 10417
    2006 Naxos 8557846
    2005 Real Sound (RS) 117
    2005 EMI Music Distribution 68598
    2004 Berlin Classics 0013412BC
    2003 Berlin Classics 0011262
    2003 EMI Music Distribution 85573
    2003 Brilliant 99938
    2002 EMI / EMI Music Distribution 751122A
    2001 BIS 1117
    2001 Audiophile Records 533
    1999 Hyperion CDA67414/7
    1999 Hungaroton 31752
    1998 Helicon Records 1027
    1994 Philips / Philips Classics 438751
    1993 Philips Classics 4387512
    1993 Hungaroton 12677
    Brilliant 99938/2