Valses oubliées

All that Alan Walker has to say (in vol. 3 Final Years, p438) about the Valses oubliées is that:

  • "The music of Liszt's old age falls into three categories
  • The music of retrospections
  • The music of despair
  • The music of death
  • Valses oubliées (forgotten waltzes) are music of retrospection
  • Walker: "Liszt referred to this music as his 'forgotten' pieces, a sardonic reference to compositions that were forgotten before they were even played.

According to the library's collected work's edition, (series 1, bd. 14, page XII - xiii)

  • The first Valse oubliée was written on July 23rd, 1881.
  • The first edition was published same year in Berlin.
  • It was issued again by the same publisher in 1884 along with the second and third forgotten waltzes.
  • The Deuxieme Valse oubliée was completed on July 23rd, 1883, in Weimar.
  • The Troisieme Valse oubliée was composed in 1883.
  • The Vierter vergessener Walzer may have been written in late 1883 or early 1884, and was not published in his lifetime.

In letters to Olga von Meyendorff

  • I scanned the collected letters to Olga, and from 1880 - 85, I only saw the valses mentioned once
  • p 459, February 25, 1884:

"Did you receive my autograph copy of Trois valses oubilees? Know that I am adding to it a postcriptum in print which I will give you in Weimar. 'After all! no one is perfect your honor,' as someone accused of having killed his father and mother said in court!
Your most imperfect

  • While not directly related to the valses, I did see on page 389, he mentioned that he was arranging his Romance Oubilee for piano and violin for her to "play with Chimay at Antwerp"
  • So, I'm thinking that he dedicated these works to her, and meant her to play them. I don't think she was a fantastically accomplished pianist, so this might even help explain why the music is not virtuostically difficult.
  • also, in his letters to Meyendorff, I found nothing significant about the date July 23rd.

And the mysterious history of the 4th manuscript

  • According to MENC: The National Association for Music Education Vol. 42, No. 4 (Feb. - Mar., 1956), pp. 4, Liszt gave the Vierter vergessener Walzer to Vonie Holtge, who brought it to the United States. His son gave it to the Library of Congress.
  • the article: