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Camille Saint-SaënsOn Music and Musicians$
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Roger Nichols

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195320169

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195320169.001.0001

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Liszt I

Liszt I

(Harmonie et mélodie, Calmann-Lévy, 1899, 155–172)

(p.88) 16 Liszt I
Camille Saint-Saëns

Roger Nichols

Oxford University Press

It is not long since orchestral music had only two forms at its disposal: the symphony and the overture. Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven did not write anything else; who would dare to depart from their example? Franz Liszt dared. To dare, in art, is the most terrible thing. In theory, nothing is simpler. There are no laws against the arts and artists being free to do whatever they like; who is there to stop them? In practice, everything stops them. The new forms that people ask for and desire, or at least appear to, inspire terror and repulsion. In order to accept new forms and grasp their meaning, the mind has to make an effort: those people willing to make this effort are rare. Liszt realized that, if he wanted to impose new forms, he had to make them seem necessary. He set out to create the symphonic poem.

Keywords:   Franz Liszt, symphonic poem, orchestral music

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