Music with Ease > Classical Music > Concert Guide: Romantic Era > Festklänge (Liszt)
The symphonic poem, "Festklänge," begins with a martial rhythm given out by the kettle drums, which is taken up in the horns and other instruments, until, passing through a non-accord, it rests on a second accord of C with the C flat in the basses. This whole section, repeated a step higher, and closing on a second accord of D, with C in the basses, then runs into an Andante sostenuto, which, after a short passage in the brasses, develops a delicate treatment of a non-accord on G and A, and after eight measures returns into the first tempo, and, with a short modulation, strikes the principal theme, which is worked up to considerable length, when the rhythm of the Introduction enters in a Coda of eight measures, connecting with an Allegretto in polacca time. Its chief melody closes with a trill cadenza, after which the violins respond with a phrase based on inversion, followed by a livelier figure of a more pronounced polacca character, which appears alternat! ely in the violins and flutes, and which predominates during the rest of the movement, until its return to the first tempo. The Allegro mosso con brio is repeated in more extended form, and with new and enriched orchestration, only to return once more to the Polacca intermezzo, treated with similar variations and leading into the last Allegro in common time. Utilizing the themes of the march movement and reiterating the more essential motives, it runs into the Coda, which by the free use of the trumpet figure at the very opening and a very forcible ascending motive in the basses brings the composition to a close in truly festive style.