Jeux d'Eaux à la Villa d'Este (The Fountains of the Villa d'Este) is Liszt’s late work from the third year of Pilgrimage, and is written in 1877. This piece was inspired to describe musically the dazzling play of water. Fountain, spraying arpeggios and glistening tremolandos dominate the first half of the piece. In the quieter middle section, the water takes on a mystical meaning, and Liszt has here inserted a quotation from St. John 4:14: “the water that I shall give him shall become in him a fountain of water springing up into eternal life.” The piece ends in a spiritual mood, with the chords of a plagal cadence.
This work must have inspired the young Maurice Ravel, who some 24 years later, broke new impressionistic ground in a piece with a similar title, Jeux d’eau.