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Those familiar with the first Mephisto Waltz will probably attest to a quirky but thoroughly impressive composition, including a cleverly nimble main melody that deftly combines with virtuosic arpeggios and chromatic scales to build a controlled hodgepodge with a nonetheless memorable central theme. A contrastingly slower and syncopated middle section gives the waltz an overall A-B-A form, but after several ecstatic development sections, the truncated return of the B section, and a cadenza, both performer and listener are called upon to conquer an extremely ambitious musical statement. 

— Gregg Wager is a composer and critic. He is author of Symbolism as a Compositional Method in the Works of Karlheinz Stockhausen. He has a PhD in musicology from the Free University Berlin and a JD from McGeorge School of Law.