About this work
Coming from the same year as his first book of Preludes, the slender Hommage à Joseph Haydn of Claude Debussy (1862-1918) sounds very little like Haydn except in the opening gesture in its outer section and a great deal like Debussy in everything else: its melodies, its harmonies, its textures, and especially in its virtuoso technique. The opening left-hand melody has something of Haydn in its wit, but very little Haydn in its construction and development. The central section has the rushing power of Debussy as it builds toward a climax that evaporates into the highest reaches of the keyboard. The return of the opening gesture at the end is extremely brief, less of a recapitulation than a false recapitulation, and in that way does recall the humor of Haydn.