Mephisto Waltz No.1 for String Quartet
Franz Liszt's Mephisto Waltz No.1 is the first of four waltzes which he composed over a period of 25 years. No.1 was completed in 1862. Originally for orchestra, Liszt himself arranged it for piano and subsequently there have been many arrangements for all kinds of ensembles. It works surprisingly well for string quartet and is the length of a short string quartet or perhaps a lengthy encore. It is a typical example of program music, taking for its program from an episode of the story of Faust as told by the poet Nikolaus Lenau and not Goethe. It is titled Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke (The Dance in the Village Inn). Liszt actually took Lenau's words of description and put them into the score:
"There is a wedding feast in progress in the village inn, with music, dancing, carousing. Mephistopheles and Faust pass by, and Mephistopheles induces Faust to enter and take part in the festivities. Mephistopheles snatches the fiddle from the hands of a lethargic fiddler and draws from it indescribably seductive and intoxicating strains. The amorous Faust whirls about with a full-blooded village beauty in a wild dance; they waltz in mad abandon out of the room, into the open, away into the woods. The sound of the fiddle grow softer and softer, and the nightengale warbles his love-laden song."
Liszt, of course, needs no introduction. One of the greatest pianists of all time, an important and famous composer in his own right and one of the most influential musical personalities of the 19th century, countless books and articles have been written about him.
Parts & Score: $29.95