It has been remarked how Liszt kept returning to his song Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth
, whose original text reflects the joy of Liszt’s very rare experience of holidaying on the Rhine and staying in the cloisters on the island of Nonnenwerth, en famille
with Marie d’Agoult and their children in the early 1840s. Here is offered the most elusive of the many versions for solo piano, the first version, which Liszt gave the rather bulky title Élégie pour piano seul
—which he later adopted as a subtitle, retaining as title that of the song. This version was published in 1843, and may date from soon after the completion of the original song in 1841 at the latest.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1998