The Valse à capriccio
is that rare specimen of a fantasy upon themes from two different operas (Liszt also combined Figaro
and Don Giovanni
), and in the first version also contains material at the end which comes from neither of the operas in question: Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor
and his lesser-known Parisina
. If the later version, called Valse de concert
is a more subtle and refined piece, the early version contains a good deal of interesting music which was cut in the later piece. (The revision, however, restored the four bars missing from the F sharp major waltz – reinstated here by analogy with the corresponding passage eight bars earlier – an error not corrected in any subsequent publication of the early version.) For listeners familiar with the later version, it will be easily seen that the two pieces are similar in structure until the point where the first version breaks into a brisk 2/4 variation where the second version proceeds directly to the peroration. In the first version the waltz is resumed, but in 3/8, and the themes from the two operas are combined. This leads to the coda proper, which contains the above-mentioned foreign material (perhaps even composed by Liszt in the appropriate style) and a delightfully crazy passage with repeated octave semiquavers in 1/4 in the right hand against the 3/8 waltz in the left.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1999