When Liszt took over the direction of the Court Opera in Weimar, he spent a great deal of time exploring Goethe's works. He was particularly attracted to the subject-matter of Faust. He used Nikolaus Lenau's “Faust,” a comprehensive poem in 24 scenes, as the model for his orchestral work in two parts “Episodes from Lenau's Faust.” The second part, “Dance in the Village Inn,” was originally written for piano solo. He gave this wild piece which builds up to an almost delirious climax the title “Mephisto Waltz.” The piano composition soon spread around the world in its own right and even today is considered to be the quintessential bravura piece. For the first time, a version of the piece that was abridged and simplified by Liszt can be found in the appendix.
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