This is a most striking and unusual manuscript, comprising Liszt's autograph alternative version ("ossia") of his embellished and elaborated transcription for piano of the Sextet from Donizetti's opera Lucia di Lammermoor
one of the best-loved of all his "operatic fantasies". The passage corresponds to the final section of Donizetti's famous ensemble (itself one of the finest in Italian Romantic opera), and immediately precedes Liszt's own newly-composed coda to the piece. It is found on pages 6 to 9 of the 1840 edition of Liszt's Réminiscences
by Friedrich Hofmeister of Leipzig, where it is printed on small staves above the music, as Liszt here instructs. The present version is in fact somewhat simpler even than the alternative "ossia" published in the edition, which provides for arpeggiated chords and higher "8vo" extensions, missing here. This probably explains why there is no sign on this manuscript that it was ever used by the engraver. Nevertheless, the passage is complicated enough and requires Liszt to notate both hands for the final five bars.
The autograph manuscript of Liszt's Réminiscences de Lucia di Lammermoor (in the Ricordi Archives in Milan), is incomplete, lacking the first 13 bars, and contains merely cues for the present passage marked "ossia".
We gratefully acknowledge the kind assistance of Professor Rena Mueller for her assistance in the cataloguing of this item.