Liszt: Totentanz (Version for Solo Piano)

Dance of the Dead

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  • Composer: Franz Liszt
  • Instrumentation: Piano
  • ISMN: 9790080127186
  • Size: 9.1 x 11.8 inches
  • Pages: 24
  • Urtext / Critical Edition


Throughout his life, Liszt's imagination was almost obsessed with notions of death and mourning. He composed many works on these topics, such as Pensée des morts, Funérailles , the two versions of La lugubre gondola , and Totentanz (Dance of Death), based on the Gregorian Dies irae sequence depicting the horrors of the Last Judgement. The latter project matured over a period of several decades, beginning in 1830, when Liszt heard the premiere of Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique , whose finale includes the Dies irae theme. Along with this musical impression, Liszt was stirred by horrifying visual representations of the dance of death by Holbein and Buffalmacco. Totentanz , composed as a series of variations, was finally completed during Liszt's Weimar period as one of its most outstanding compositions.

Of the three versions for piano solo, two pianos, and piano and orchestra, this edition contains the two-hand piano solo version. This revised (2018) version is based on the New Liszt Edition, and provides a revised score, a facsimile reproduction, and critical notes. The new editorial preface orientates the reader in all the Major questions regarding the work's genesis.