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Frederic Chopin- 24 Etudes, op. 10 and 25, played on an 1849 Erard piano

Chopin wrote two sets of twelve etudes (studies) for piano- op. 10, published in 1833; and op. 25, published in 1837. Although each brings a set of technical challenges to the table for the student (hence being entitled “etudes”), they are still incredibly diverse and deep in their musical content, contrary to the etudes seen by earlier composers like Hanon or Czerny. They range from fast and jubilant (ie op. 10/1, the opening etude with cascading C major arpeggios), to slow and longing (ie op. 10/3, “Tristesse”), to stormy and furious (ie op. 25/11, “Winter Wind”). Their combination of virtuosity and musicality makes them a favorite among students and performers.

This particular recording was made by Tatiana Shebanova on an 1849 Erard piano. It comes from a box set entitled “The Real Chopin”. Compiled by a Polish record label in 2010 to commemorate the great composer’s bicentennial, the box set includes recordings (often multiple recordings of the same piece) of his entire works done on authentic period instruments. The recording quality is tremendous, and the playing is spectacular as well. Hearing Chopin played this way really casts his music in a different light.