About Franz Liszt's Mephisto Waltzes
Liszt's Mephisto Waltzes were inspired by the poet Nicolaus Lenau's treatment of the Faust legend, in particular the scene where Mephistopheles and Faust arrives at a village inn where people are dancing. Mephistopheles seizes a violin and bewitches everyone with his playing.
The first and most well-known of the waltzes opens with a suggestion of the open strings of the violin. It was originally composed for orchestra (Two Episodes from Lenau's Faust, second movement). The other three were composed toward the end of Liszt's life, in the early 1880s.