A symphonic poem, or tone poem, is a single movement piece written for large orchestral forces, conceived to evoke the contents of a non musical source (for example a painting, or a text). The genre reconciles drama and music without actually employing sung or spoken text. Symphonic poems come from the perceived stagnation of the traditional symphony form: after the immense success of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, many composers turned to shorter forms, like the concert overture. This allowed them to continue compose in a symphonic language while still avoiding to be perceived as 'under the shadow' of Beethoven's work. The genre also lent itself to extra-musical narration. Franz Liszt took this a step further and came up with a new form that allowed him to write pieces as complex as a Symphony's first movement, yet displaying a stronger structural cohesion and reflecting an extra musical program. He made use of the cyclic writing and thematic development methods, found in some of Beethoven's work. This form was quickly adopted by composer, and remained popular until the 20th century, when the rejection of Romantic ideals caused a steep decline in its popularity.
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Albert Roussel Aleksandr Glazunov Aleksandr Yurasovsky Alexander Borodin Alexander Scriabin Alfonso Broqua Alfred Bruneau Anatoly Lyadov Antonín Dvořák Arnold Bax Arnold Schoenberg Arthur H. Bird Arthur Honegger August Bungert Bedřich Smetana Béla Bartók Bohuslav Martinů Camille Saint-Saëns Carl Joseph Brambach Carl Nielsen Cécile Chaminade César Franck Charles Lefebvre Edmondstoune Duncan Edward MacDowell Ernest Austin Ernest Bloch Ernest Chausson Ernst Boehe
Eugène Cools Eugène Ysaÿe Felix Weingartner Ferruccio Busoni Florent Schmitt Franz Berwald Franz Liszt Frederick Delius Frederick Shepherd Converse Fritz Arlberg Fritz Volbach Gabriel Pierné George Gershwin Granville Bantock Henri Duparc Herbert Straus Gardner Hugo Wolf Jacob Kunkel Jacques Ibert Jan Brandts Buys Jāzeps Vītols Jean Sibelius Joaquín Turina José de Cor-de-Lass Joseph Canteloube Jules Massenet Julián Santos Carrión Karl Bleyle Leopoldo Miguez
Louis Vierne Manuel de Falla Max Bruch Max Reger Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis Mily Balakirev Modest Mussorgsky Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov Ottorino Respighi Paul Dukas Paul Ertel Paul Juon Paul von Klenau Peter Benoît Philipp Scharwenka Pierre Coindreau Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky Raoul Brunel Richard Strauss Richard Wagner Ruggiero Leoncavallo Sergei Prokofiev Sergei Rachmaninoff Sergey Vasilenko Théo Ysaÿe Vincent d' Indy Xinghai Xian Yevgeny Alenev Zdeněk Fibich