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Collections | Music Manuscripts & Printed Music

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 Liszt image

Franz Liszt (1811–1886)
First Mephisto Waltz
Autograph manuscript, 1859
22.5 x 28 cm
Purchased as the gift of the Fellows, with the special assistance of Mrs. W. Rodman Fay, 1983
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The First Mephisto Waltz was inspired by Nikolaus Lenau's Faust and is based on one of the many episodes of the legend not found in Goethe's version. Faust and Mephistopheles have wandered into a village where wedding festivities are in progress. Mephistopheles seizes a violin and, through the demoniacal fire of his playing, whips the dancers into a frenzy. Faust leads a woman into the open where, amid the sounds of Mephistopheles' violin and the song of a nightingale, the couple "is overcome by ardent desire and swallowed by the roaring sea of lust."

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.