EVOCATIONS OF IMPRESSIONISM IN FERENC LISZT’S WORKS AS A SOURCE OF STYLISTIC INSPIRATION FOR CLAUDE DEBUSSY
The goal of this research was to find the first traces of impressionism in Liszt’s works, and to examine how Debussy might have drawn some inspiration from Liszt. I explored several concepts, including the use of the sustain pedal (shifting from ‘bel canto’ style towards effect-driven use), spatial arrangement of notes on the page (three-stave writing), the role of each of the pianist’s hands (breaking up with the tradition of assigning the accompaniment to the left hand and melody to the right hand), and how the two composers perceived nature and expressed it through their pieces. The criteria included composers’ selection of topic, the use of texture, harmony, and other musical elements. I tried to illustrate similarities, links, and influences that connect Debussy’s sources of philosophical and stylistic inspiration to Liszt’s compositions by cross-comparing three pairs of pieces on both a score-base and performance-based analysis. I selected two contrasting modern performances for each piece, which resulted in working with 12 recordings. The pairs of compositions selected for this study proved to have a lot of similarities, and in some respects, Liszt’s writing appeared to be more ‘impressionistic’ than Debussy’s.