Together with the Chopin and Liszt etudes, the 12 Etudes of Debussy, composed in 1915, belong to the absolute top of the Etude repertoire. Besides being musical tone poems, with moods varying from tenderly introspective to ferocious, these Etudes deal with a variety of technical problems like scales, arpeggios, thirds, quarts, sixths, and so on. Debussy was very aware these pieces were to occupy a place of their own, and gleefully intended them as 'a warning to pianists not to take up the musical profession unless they have remarkable hands'.
Indeed the unusual combination of musical and technical problems make these Etudes, which are fittingly dedicated to the memory of Frédéric Chopin, the realm of the greatest of pianists only.
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