With the Quatre Grandes Études de Concert, Op 111, that appeared in 1845, Moscheles returns, as if irresistibly, to characteristic titles, which mirror the increased power and scope of the music. He composed two of them on holiday in Boulogne in the late summer of 1841; La Fougue
was written in 1843. His concert career had effectively ended, yet here he produced four of his finest compositions. All the varieties of technical difficulty that a virtuoso could wish for develop organically from the music itself, which shows nonetheless at times the simplicity of a great and mature artist. Rêverie et Allégresse
(dreaming and joyfulness), after a pensive opening, embarks on a quiet and unassuming tune which grows almost imperceptibly into a rushing torrent of notes. In the charming Le Carrillon
there is a similar development from artlessness to explosive power; its second theme has an accompaniment of deliciously discordant passing notes. Tendresse et Exaltation
has once again a remarkably ‘up-to-date’ tune, hauntingly varied and developed. The growing sense of rapture finally breaks free in an allegro tempo that crescendos to a triumphant conclusion. The final Étude, La Fougue
(impetuosity and passion), is reminiscent of Alkan in its power and ardour, and is perhaps the finest of an exceptional group of pieces. They were dedicated to the composer Wilhelm Speyer of Frankfurt, and published for the benefit of the Mozart Society of that city.
from notes by Henry Roche © 2003