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With his Études-Tableaux Rachmaninoff continued down the path that Chopin and Liszt had already set out on with their concert etudes: the most demanding technical tasks are presented in the form of expressive character pieces. Rachmaninoff composed two cycles, each originally with nine Études-Tableaux; however, shortly before Opus 33 went to print, he removed three of the pieces. Several posthumous editions later reversed this decision. However, Henle's edition follows the exact structure with six pieces as laid out by Rachmaninoff for publication. The two surviving etudes that were not originally published are reprinted in an appendix to the Urtext edition.

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