The final versions of the two Élégies
(in volume 9 of this series) are perfect pieces of their kind. But it is interesting to examine the unpublished early manuscript material, especially of the first piece. It is clear that Liszt added the introduction later, and that he had no fewer than five attempts at the coda of the piece originally entitled Schlummerlied im Grabe
(‘Lullaby in the grave’). The use of his coloured crayon and other instructions to the engraver indicate that his intention to publish the piece was well advanced. For some reason he withdrew it, and only then made the version for chamber ensemble and the piano solo text of the definitive version. The Schlummerlied
differs from the Élégie
in details of texture in almost every bar, but both are inscribed to the memory of Mme Mukhanov.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1995