It was probably only a question of length which caused Liszt to make the serious cuts that lead to the final version of this work—and an intermediate version, with two optional cuts and a new last page appeared not to satisfy the Master, either. But there is much to be said for the sheer expansiveness of this piece in its first edition which, like all Liszt’s fantasies based on music of Meyerbeer, calls forth some of his finest flights of fancy. The greatest difference between the present text and the other one is the long section given over to the andante from the lyrical duet of Raoul and Valentine, ‘Ô ciel! où courez-vous?’. The whole fantasy is based upon this long duet, which is certainly the finest thing in Meyerbeer’s score, and it is strange to reflect that it was a very late addition to the original opera.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1998