is easily recognized as the immediate precursor of the fourth of the Transcendental Studies
, and of the later symphonic poem. It is a slightly reworked version of the fourth of the Douze Grandes Études
where it bore no title. Now, with a new introduction and coda (and, in the present performance, taking the opportunity to present Liszt’s ossia text for all passages where he provides one) the work takes on a programme: the career of the hero of Hugo’s poem—itself a homage to Byron’s—describing the wild ride of Mazeppa tied to a galloping horse and surviving in triumph.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1998