The familiar piano version of the song O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst!
remains Liszt’s best-loved melody: the third of the Liebesträume
(see volume 19). But that transcription differs considerably from the song, both in the central section and at the very end. There is an incomplete MS in the Weimar archive (in the Z12 folder) that begins at bar 26 of the known version (the bar after the first cadenza), but in A major rather than A flat, and proceeds in a text which follows the song absolutely for some fifty-two bars. The point where the MS breaks off is the final reprise of the melody – bar 61 in the published transcription; bar 77 in this version. The piece has been conjecturally reconstructed here by taking the opening of the published version, transposed into A major, and using the song’s piano part for bar 25, inserting the Z12 pages, then playing the last page of the published version, but with the song’s piano part for the final ten bars (also transposed into A major).
from notes by Leslie Howard © 2004