At one time, Liszt’s often witty interpretation of the famed Mendelssohn Wedding March was a regular recital war-horse. It could be that familiarity with Mendelssohn’s original—not to mention innumerable versions of bits of it encountered in so many parish churches and Hollywood films—has stifled interest. But the idea of performing this work, along with Liszt’s fiendish arrangement of the Introduction to Act III and Bridal March from Lohengrin
at a marriage ceremony remains a Schwarzenplan of the present writer. Liszt furnishes Mendelssohn’s work with a ghostly, almost satirical introduction, and then a rather light-hearted version of the main material before he gets to the piece proper. Then the main section is subject to variation whenever it reappears. Mendelssohn’s first interlude is faithfully transcribed, but the F major section with its flowing theme ends up flowing into very strange harmonic waters in order to prepare for the interpolation of the Dance of the Elves. Liszt is loth to let go the elvish music, so he allows it to permeate the return of the march before the triumphant coda is given a triumphalist transcription.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1992