Franz Liszt: Grande Valse di Bravura op. 6 (S.615)


  • Composer(s): Franz Liszt
  • Edition: 4 Hands Editions, Da Vinci Edition
  • Format: A4 - Paperback
  • Genre: Instrumental
  • Instrumentation: Piano 4 Hands
  • Pages: 40
  • Period: Romantic
  • ISMN: 9790216211185
  • Publication year: 2019
SKU: DVFH 21472 Category:

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Throughout his life, Franz Liszt nourished a special interest in the Piano Duo; he frequently performed with his students and his famous colleagues, playing piano duets both on two pianos and on one (four hands); even more importantly, he published a high number of very interesting and masterfully crafted transcriptions.
In spite of this, only recently many of his Piano Duo transcriptions are being recorded, since, for a long time, the Polonaise and the Concerto Pathétique were considered as the only original works in his opus. Some recent updates in Liszt’s catalogue, and, more specifically, the classi-fication of his transcriptions have eventually created the occasion for a meaningful change of perspective. In fact, studying carefully this huge repertoire of scores, we find a true gold mine for the concert life, as well as many interesting stimuli and alternative versions for countless passages which are literally rewritten – not simply transcribed – for the twenty fingers. Our hope is that, in the near future, this heritage will be known, appreciated and disseminated as it deserves.
The Grande Valse de bravura, composed in 1835, first performed by the composer in Paris in 1836, and published in that same year by Breitkopf & Härtel and by Schlesinger as op. 6, is indeed the first version of the Valse de bravoure of 1858 (no. 1 of the Trois Caprices-Valses S. 214). This work, conceived in order to please the audiences thanks to a captivating thematic material and a spectacular pianistic writing, enjoyed a great success from the very beginning, so that Liszt used it frequently in his youthful performances (the title Le Bal de Berne is pro-bably taken from his stay in Switzerland).
The same waltz was published by Schuberth and Ricordi in the version for piano four hands, which is, substantially, an almost literal division of the original two parts with some doublings, as was common at that time, but with some original variants not devoid of interest. In the title-page of either edition no mention is found of a transcription of arrangement (even though some suppose that the arranger could be Friedrich Mockwitz, who was already working for Ricordi). Thus, it is permissible to classify this work as a double version – a practice which was rather common throughout the nineteenth century. Especially as concerns the salon pieces, in fact, many publishers used to print the works in two versions, for two and for four hands, not only with the aim of making the performance easier and more accessible for even the less brilliant pianists, but also with the purpose of allowing the piano duo performance – something which was already popular in the salons of the time and loved by both performers and listeners alike. In Italy, indeed, the Valse op. 6 was first published in the four-hands version (Ricordi Catalogue no. 9544, 1837) and only later in the two-hands version (no. 9921, 1837 again). That was the period of Liszt’s Italian tour, and Ricordi himself had an advertisement published about the presence of the great pianist and composer, including the listing of his available works. Among these, and together with other pieces, the Grande Valse de bravura was found, both for two and for four hands; the two versions, however, were later promoted separately in many journals and newspapers, thus bearing witness to the publishing strategy which aimed at maintaining the two versions on an equal footing.


Duo Pianistico di Firenze (Sara Bartolucci – Rodolfo Alessandrini)

Translation by Chiara Bertoglio


Franz Liszt: (b Raiding, (Doborján), 22 Oct 1811; d Bayreuth, 31 July 1886). Hungarian composer, pianist and teacher. He was one of the leaders of the Romantic movement in music. In his compositions he developed new methods, both imaginative and technical, which left their mark upon his forward-looking contemporaries and anticipated some 20th-century ideas and procedures; he also evolved the method of ‘transformation of themes’ as part of his revolution in form, made radical experiments in harmony and invented the symphonic poem for orchestra. As the greatest piano virtuoso of his time, he used his sensational technique and captivating concert personality not only for personal effect but to spread, through his transcriptions, knowledge of other composers’ music. As a conductor and teacher, especially at Weimar, he made himself the most influential figure of the New German School dedicated to progress in music. His unremitting championship of Wagner and Berlioz helped these composers achieve a wider European fame. Equally important was his unrivalled commitment to preserving and promoting the best of the past, including Bach, Handel, Schubert, Weber and above all Beethoven; his performances of such works as Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Hammerklavier Sonata created new audiences for music hitherto regarded as incomprehensible. The seeming contradictions in his personal life – a strong religious impulse mingled with a love of worldly sensation – were resolved by him with difficulty. Yet the vast amount of new biographical information makes the unthinking view of him as ‘half gypsy, half priest’ impossible to sustain. He contained in his character more of the ideals and aspirations of the 19th century than any other major musician.

Profile from The New Grove dictionary of Music and Musicians

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