It would seem that the unpublished Petite Valse
was written some time between the composition of the third and the fourth Valses oubliées
, since it is described as a pendant to the three waltzes. The manuscript (in the Goethe-Schiller Archive) is in a terrible state: at some stage it has been torn asunder, both from top to bottom and from side to side – a crime if the deed was not perpetrated by Liszt in a moment of self-doubt, merely a pity otherwise, because the fragment is of that other-worldly nostalgic beauty unique to the gentler works of Liszt's old age. The piece consists of 101 bars of music, and a final change of key signature indicating a return to earlier material. The present writer has completed the piece by adding twenty-five bars, twenty of which are entirely Liszt's, and the last five bars only contain the vanishing spectre of the previous phrase, in imitation of a passage in the Troisième Valse oubliée
. This is simply too haunting a piece to discard unheard.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1999