The influence of poetry on the piano music of early twentieth-century France and England.



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The turn of the century in France saw an increased intensity of interest in equating the arts of poetry and music. England experienced a similar trend. Debussy and Ravel were influenced by the Symbolist poets and their aesthetic of abstract musical expression of ideas and outright rejection of Romanticism. John Ireland in England sought to express the sense of loss and longing in Victorian poetry through his music, while Joseph Holbrooke based his musical forms on direct representation of dramatic and mysterious Romantic poetry, especially that of Edgar Allan Poe, through text painting and similar techniques. Each of these composers' music reflects formal aspects, emotional values, and rhythmic qualities of the poetry in which they were immersed, as analyses of Debussy's Preludes, Ravel's Jeux d'eau, Ireland's Green Ways, and Holbrooke's Nocturnes demonstrate.