Symphonic music with the program

The term music with the program was first introduced by Franc Liszt when working on his Symphonic Poems. Thus he defined a program or a literary poem as a preface to these Poems, aiming only to orient the listener into his poetic idea. But at that time very few programs of his poems are narrative. He has never admitted that music can be an art that can describe objects and events, but it can express their emotional reality, so music can represent objects indirectly. Liszt idea was not far from Beethoven, who for his sixth symphony expressed “rather an expression of feelings than a painting”.

The term is used in a narrow but also in wide sense, that is, for that music that has a program, or even for all music that contains an external music reference.

On the other side of the music with program stands the absolute music or pure music that does not attempt to assume the representation of a narrative, but develops autonomous logic along its elaboration that begins with the theme or the musical themes that contain and character; the basic characters of the dramaturgy of the work. For example, in the music of the Mozart Masonic Funeral (Requiem in Re minor) is certainly faced the expression of grief, but in its content there is no effort to represent or describe the object of sadness.  So music by being expressive of human emotions cannot express objects just like painting and sculpture do. Meanwhile List wrote: In programmatic music … conversion, modification, modification, and modulation of motives is conditioned by their connection to the poetic idea … All musical considerations are, without exception, subject to the action of the given subject (Schriften, 69).

However, it should be said that the Liszt was supported at composers like: Beethoven (Symphony 6), Shuman, Mendelssohn, and Berlioz in concluding his idea of ​​music programming.


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