The famous final number of the second year of the Années de pèlerinage
started life under the title Paralipomènes à la Divina Commedia
, borrowing a philological term scarcely encountered in the musical world (indeed usually used to describe the biblical books of Chronicles, i.e., the things left out of the books of Kings), but here signifying a supplement to Dante’s work rather than a programmatic depiction. The first version has a Prima parte
and a Seconda parte
but it would not be accurate to think of the two movements as being in any way independent of each other. Certainly the first part comes to a full close in F sharp major—some distance from the D minor tonality of the overall work—but the second part contains no new material and brings matters firmly back to the home key. Listeners familiar with the final version will have no trouble in recognizing many different textures, and there is one strand of thematic material which features prominently here but which was later expunged. Tighter though the piece was to become, the first version has a real power and character of its own, and must have astounded those who first heard it, so audacious is it for its time in all respects.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1998