Count Léo Festetics (1800–1884) was one of the band of Hungarian aristocrats who sponsored the young Liszt. He is the dedicatee of many of Liszt’s specifically Hungarian works, and he remained Liszt’s lifelong friend and supporter. As a composer he remains almost unknown, and the Liszt transcription of his song Spanisches Ständchen
(Spanish Serenade) has not yet been published. The manuscript is in the Goethe-Schiller Archive in Weimar, who generously provided a copy to the Liszt Society. From the state of this much-altered manuscript it is clear that Liszt took quite some trouble to decide the final texture of the transcription, which comes over as an excellent example of the extraordinarily vast literature of Spanish pieces by non-Spanish composers.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1995