The black keys
Etude for both hands: for the difficult key.
This Etude still offers an example of the difficulty of the key; but it is increased by that of the execution, which, only serious and pathetic in Etude No. 89, requires here an elegance, a sweetness of expression which, obtained, would become the highest point of the perfection of art. Because of the great quantity of black keys on which the fingers have to extend, the thumb must almost constantly be placed under each of the hands, so that they are transported without shaking, and without taking anything away from the play of the LEGATO and the SMOOTH which will leave to this piece its true character AFFETTUOSO; if on the contrary one executed it dryly, by marking the dotted eighth notes much, it would take the color of a minuet of the ancient time. Here the dynamics must be very gentle, and rarely reach the FORTE. It would have been impossible to indicate them all without affecting the sharpness of the engraving. The student will make up for it if he has care to sing with the voice the high part of this piece, before carrying it out, and to make imitate then with the right hand the inflections of the melody, then on the left those of the right. (H. de Montgeroult)
(Bruno Robillard – 2006)