This is one of those pieces which, after two decades of nothing-in-particularness, just suddenly opened up to me a few years ago. My favourite from the set is probably still the hairrising 3rd Etude, but this is a much richer listening experience (and yes definitely Doc). I first “heard it” a late summer evening out in the garden, and I’ve never wanted to listen to it anywhere else since. Once or twice a year max.
I chose the five “elements” that I considered to be the most critical for somebody to be able to learn a piece and then I gave each element a difficulty rating based on the level of skill required to pull that element off. This is done, of course, after having personal experience with playing the piece.
Elements are: fingerwork, octaves, jumps, stamina, and interpretation. In that order.
And here’s a rough guide to each number:
7-10: Early Advanced
15-18: Very Advanced
And this Alkan piece follows: 20-16-25-19-10-90 which is the sum of the 5 elements.
So the idea with this kind of rating is that a student can take one glance at it and be able to have an idea of what techniques are required and if he/she is up to each technique level to play the piece. Of course, it is always better to try pieces yourself but this rating can save time in that it can prevent students from trying pieces that are too hard/too easy.