At about the same time as the Fifth Symphony transcription was being prepared for engraving, Liszt made his first attempt at a piano transcription of Beethoven’s lyrical song Adelaïde
.Matthisson’s poem of love unfulfilled might have been written with Beethoven himself in mind, so closely does it conform to Beethoven’s life’s experience and his pessimism in matters of the heart: the poet wanders lonely in nature thinking of his unattainable love, consoled only by the thought of the future miraculous bloom upon his grave, bearing his beloved’s name, sprung from the ashes of his heart. In keeping with the generosity of spirit of Beethoven’s piece, Liszt’s sound world is rich and full, the compensation for the absent voice made by enlarging the texture with discreet octave doublings. On this first occasion, Liszt provides just a short, unvirtuosic cadenza to join the Larghetto to the concluding Allegro.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1997