is one of the finest of Beethoven’s early works, amounting really to a concert aria with piano, with two contrasting sections, which follow Friedrich Matthison’s poem of unrequited love, ‘Your friend wandered alone’, with its poetic conclusion of a flower blooming from the ashes of the lover’s heart, ‘One day, O Miracle’. Liszt remains very close to Beethoven’s text in all three versions of his transcription. In the second version, Liszt added a reflective coda in which he combined elements of the two parts of the song. In the final version, he discreetly extended Beethoven’s ending, but removed his coda and greatly elaborated it to form an optional cadenza, placed between the parts of the song. Recording technology should allow the listener to have or not to have the cadenza at will.
from notes by Leslie Howard ę 1991