Much criticism was raised against Liszt because, in many of his earlier works of an overtly Hungarian nature, he had not differentiated between gypsy café music or professionally composed music and Hungarian folksong. (It always strikes me as a colossal injustice that other composers of the time—such as Brahms in his Hungarian Dances—were never castigated in the slightest for afflicting serious butchery on folk material, and yet Liszt, who certainly treated his source material with love and wit, whatever its origins might have been, stood condemned.) Almost as a conscious act of atonement, it seems, Liszt arranged five ‘real’ Hungarian folksongs, even indicating repeats to correspond with the number of verses in the original poem, just as he did in his chorale arrangements, and, as there, these repeats are not germane to the musical structure and are not generally performed. He even included the texts, in the Hungarian which he could not himself read with any fluency, at the head of each of these charming miniatures.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1991