Saint-SaŽns was a fervent disciple of Liszt, and the older man showed his customary generosity to the younger by championing his musicóLiszt arranged for Samson et Dalila
to be staged at Weimar, for exampleóand Saint-SaŽns introduced much of Lisztís orchestral music to French audiences for the first time. Liszt dedicated his Second Mephisto Waltz
to Saint-SaŽns, who wrote his Third Symphony for Liszt, eventually inscribing it to his memory. Saint-SaŽns was among the earliest followers of Liszt to compose a symphonic poem, and the Danse macabre
is perhaps the best-known of his four works in the genre. Lisztís transcription extends the original at many points, usually to accentuate the macabre elements and, memorably, to extend the lyrical central section which is rather short in the original. The loss of orchestral colour is more than compensated for by the breadth of variety in the palette of Lisztís piano writing.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1989