chapter  4
21 Pages

Promotion through Performance

Liszt’s Symphonic Poems in the London Concerts of Walter Bache

This chapter focuses on a particular feature of the series: Walter Bache's promotion of Liszt's symphonic poems. In forcefully advocating the problematic and unfamiliar works to British audiences, Bache's concerts identify performance as being fundamental to issues of reception, canon, and value. Bache's advocacy of Liszt's symphonic poems becomes particularly apparent when one compares it with the tentative approach to these works in contemporary biographical and critical studies in Britain. For Bache to promote Liszt's symphonic poems effectively to the British public, it was important that standards of orchestral playing were high. Turning to the particular symphonic poems which appeared in Bache's concert series, there were three orchestral performances of Les Preludes, two of Mazeppa, Festklange, and Orpheus, and one of Tasso. Bache's most aggressive programming policy, however, was that of presenting concerts entirely devoted to Liszt's compositions.