Although Bartók was no slouch at the keyboard, he confessed in later life that he could not play these fiendish Three Studies. They are only for the pianist with big hands (tenths required), good memory and (Bartók himself suggested) a “non-provincial” audience. The Studies find good avant-garde program companions in the two violin sonatas, and also his Sonata for piano of 1926. The Three Studies make excellent competition pieces for the young pianist wanting to demonstrate astounding technical prowess along with interpretative skills of the highest order.
Note by Malcolm Gillies