The original version of the La fiancée
fantasy dates from the same year as the opera upon which it is based (1829) and is the first of Liszt’s mature works based upon operatic themes. He revised the piece in 1839 and reissued it in 1842, in what the Neue Liszt-Ausgabe
somewhat ingenuously describes as a ‘third’ version, with alterations so tiny (the piece is bar-for-bar the same as the second version, a few wrong notes are corrected, and half-a-dozen accompanying chords are slightly redistributed) that the second version does not merit separate performance or recording. The whole piece is based on the tenor aria from the second act of the opera, and is really an old-fashioned introduction, theme, variations—each with its concluding ritornello—and coda. In the revised versions Liszt dropped the original second variation, and shortened the introduction. The martial variation 2 (variation 3 in the first version) now begins in F sharp major before reverting to A, and the Barcarolle (now variation 3) is anticipated in the revised introduction in C major.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1998