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The Procession by Night; Mephisto Waltz No. 1 (Two Episodes from Lenau's Faust).

The Procession by Night; Mephisto Waltz No. 1 (Two Episodes from Lenau's Faust), by Franz Liszt, edited by Leslie Howard. Edition Peters, 2007.; 52 pp. $19.95.


This important Urtext edition brings together for the first time Liszt's piano solo versions of his two episodes from Nikolaus Lenau's poem Faust. It was Liszt's intention that the pieces be published together, but for a variety of reasons that never happened. As the esteemed pianist Leslie Howard notes in his preface, the piano solo version of The Procession by Night has often been omitted from catalogues of Liszt's authentic works because it was a transcription by his student Robert Freund, who worked from the composer's versions for orchestra and for piano duet. But, according to Howard, Liszt left his mark on virtually every bar of Freund's manuscript, indicating pedaling, dynamics, slurs, fingering and instructions to the printer.

The two pieces complement one another beautifully. The Procession--in which Faust confronts the dark mysteries of life and death during his night ride-is regarded by many as one of Liszt's finest works. The outer sections are almost atonal, while the two central ones are more gentle, the second one ending in a grand statement of the plainsong Pange lingua gloriosi corporis mysterium ("Of the glorious body telling,/O my tongue, its mysteries sing").

The more virtuosic Mephisto Waltz has long been a staple of the repertoire. Howard includes two significant passages that were not published until 1982, and, as an alternate ending, his transcription of Liszt's pianissimo conclusion from the piano duet version. The printing is spacious and clear, and Lenau's evocative poems are included, both in the original German and in fine translations by Michael Short. There is no editorial fingering or pedaling, although both would have been welcome.--Reviewed by Charles Timbrell, NCTM, Howard University
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Author:Timbrell, Charles
Publication:American Music Teacher
Article Type:Book review
Date:Aug 1, 2008
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