So was Schumann, and probably Chopin as well, maybe in a more subtle way. Almost everyone was stunned by Paganini at the time and the way he put violin virtuosity on a different level was apparently a big inspiration for that generation of piano players and composers.
Generally, I think Chopin was a parlour pianist whereas Liszt was a concert hall pianist. I think their stylistic differences mostly relate to their different artistic habitats. Otherwise I`m pretty sure both of them were in it for the gasps of the women.
That was pretty much what I was thinking. Chopin was primarily a miniaturist whose compositions were more suited to intimate Schubertiad-like gatherings of admirers. Liszt could write miniatures too of course but his lengthier diz-busters were more conducive to a formal concert environment.
It was probably true that Chopin was more reclusive whereas Liszt was a star who at least for some time thrived on the public stages.
But this is not so clearly mirrored in their works, I think; Liszt didn't overall compose more large scale piano works than Chopin, at least not more that remained in the repertoire.
- Chopin has two piano sonatas (the first early one is hardly ever played), Liszt has the b minor + the Dante sonata
- Both have two piano concertos (Chopin's are longer) and a few smaller works for piano and orchestra
- Both have two handfuls or so of "middle sized" ca. 8-12 minutes pieces (such as Funerailles, Mephisto waltz, the longer of the hungarian rhapsodies etc. for Liszt, the Ballades, Scherzi, Fantaise, Polonaise-fantaisie for Chopin
- both have many dozens of "short", typically 1-5 min pieces, often in collections or cycles: waltzes, etudes, nocturnes etc.
Liszt has of course far more pieces overall and some are "long" but hardly seriously large scale, like opera fantasies and paraphrases.