Thousands of piano études (or studies) were written in the 19th century, though you probably wouldn't want to hear the vast majority of them, as they offer precious little interest to the listener. Chopin's études, on the other hand, are as fascinating and beautiful as anything he composed, and they require a pianist with a profound poetic sensibility as well as fingers of uncommon strength and flexibility. Murray Perahia is just the man for the job, and this recording of all 24 études (gathered together in two sets, Op. 10 and Op. 25) has been eagerly awaited by pianophiles for many years. Perahia takes what might be described as a Classical approach, eschewing conspicuous rubato (rhythmic freedom) for a taut melodic line and clarity of voicing. Yet, paradoxically perhaps, this disciplined style of playing shows just how forward-looking Chopin's music was; some of its pages seem only a step away from Debussy. Not since Maurizio Pollini (DG) has there been such a compelling recording of these amazing miniatures.