"It is not in the realm of possibility for me to play this piece..."Liszt made two other versions of the work; one for piano and orchestra under the title Grand Solo de Concert which was not published, and another arranged for two pianos published under the title Concerto Pathétique.
The work is an experiment in form and substance that Liszt continued and refined in his Sonata In B Minor. It is in one continuous movement. The opening begins with a dramatic main theme followed by a quiet section that leads to a transitional passage that brings the music back to the main theme. Next there is a grand theme played in large chords that is marked grandioso. This theme continues in the middle register of the keyboard as the accompaniment flows around it. This is basically the exposition of a sonata form movement. Liszt then inserts what amounts to a slow movement marked Andante sostenuto. This theme slowly unfolds and gains in complexity until a cadenza appears, after which the music grows to a double forte as the theme is hammered out. Themes from the exposition reappear and the drama of the opening section returns. Themes are developed, the music continues in dramatic fashion until a section is reached that is written in 4 staves and marked Andante, quasi marcia funebre:
Henselt wasn't the only virtuoso of the day that refused to play this work. Liszt sent a copy of it to Clara Schumann but she publicly begged off the work claiming excessive technical difficulties while in private she criticized the work for what she considered empty virtuosity. There is no record of the piece being played at the piano competition in Paris, and outside of Liszt's pupil Carl Tausig who Liszt said was the first pianist to perform the piece, it may have been only Liszt himself that could have surmounted the technical and musical difficulties of the work.