Liszt was very enthusiastic in his later years for all of the new music coming out of Russia. He supported and encouraged Tchaikovsky and the five composers of the ‘Mighty Handful’, and even conducted the teenage Glazunov’s First Symphony in Weimar. He had long been involved in the dissemination of the music of Glinka, Dargomizhsky and Rubinstein, and was particularly interested in the practical teaching methods of the Russian school. Dargomizhsky’s Tarentelle slave
for piano duet is a maestro e scolare
affair in which the master takes the piece proper, and the student plays an ostinato pedal-point bass. Liszt, who simply called his transcription Tarentelle
, sets the pedal point up so well that one scarcely realizes that it is not, and cannot be, present in every bar. He greatly extends the original and manages with his customary art to preserve Dargomizhsky and write real Liszt simultaneously.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1995