The reference to the Faust legend is maintained throughout all of the Mephisto music, but the seventy-year-old Liszt’s Mephistopheles is a grimmer, more unrelenting figure than that of the Faust Symphony
or the Mephisto Waltz
No 1. The Bagatelle sans tonalité
(what a title, in 1885!) and the Mephisto Waltz
No 4 remained unpublished for eighty years. It’s not certain exactly when the Bagatelle was written, but since it bears (confusingly) the title of Fourth Mephisto Waltz it must postdate the Third. Whilst the piece is not especially dissonant, it is certainly very wayward in any kind of feeling for a tonal centre and ends with an upward-rushing set of diminished sevenths.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1986