From Liszt to Bartók • 4.3
Liszt had considerable influence on the French moderns, especially Debussy and Ravel. Some of the compositions – like Liszt’s poetic vision of the fountains of Villa d’Este, and Ravel’s Fountain – sound like they were made in the same “studio.” “The undeniable beauty of Liszt’s composition results,” wrote Debussy, “from the exclusive nature of his love for music, which allowed room for no other sentiments.”
It was not only directly but also through French music that Liszt affected the two greatest figures of Hungarian modernism, Kodály and Bartók. The works at this concert allow us to trace this curious network of influences.
Bartók came closest to the French masters of Impressionism with Four Orchestral Pieces. The fourth movement is the famous funeral march; with it, and Liszt’s Funérailles, the concert pays tribute to Zoltán Kocsis, who worked remarkably hard to popularize the art of Bartók and Liszt.