War of the Romantics XII- Gabriel Faure (1845-1924)
A pupil of Saint Saens and a mentor of Maurice Ravel, Gabriel Faure was a transitional figure in musical history; as Beethoven did with Classical and Romantic music, Faure similarly straddled the Romantic and Impressionistic labels. Claude Debussy and Ravel, the first full-fledged Impressionists, certainly pick up where Faure left off.
In these solo piano pieces, generally from the latter half of Faure's career, both the Romantic inspirations and the Impressionistic harmonies are evident. I am reminded of Brahms in Faure's use of "large scale syncopation" (Wikipedia), and of Mendelssohn in Faure's beautiful melodies- especially in his earlier Romances sans Paroles, a tribute to Mendelssohn's Songs without Words. But in Faure's nocturnes, influenced by Chopin, there are harmonies unlike any other in the Romantic era; ambiguous, hazy, and very Debussian. His Nocturnes No. 7 and 8 of 1898 are unbelievably radical for 19th century music, by any standard. Overall, Faure uses a romantic framework to advance his very forward-looking impressionistic ideas.
Preludes 3 and 9
Romances sans Paroles 1-3
Jean Martin- Faure Nocturnes Vol. 2