According to a Liszt letter, the Technische Studien
(a series of technical exercises exploiting the widest range of keyboard technique) were begun in 1868. They must have been completed by 1871, as Imre Mezð has shown in his excellent edition. Liszt’s methods for practising scales, arpeggios, chords, repeated notes, and a hundred things besides, usually through all the keys, do not make musical compositions and would be as interesting to most listeners as a dripping tap—and they would fill half a dozen compact discs with ease! The only example to be included here is the sole exception in the entire oeuvre: a little two-page effort that is a piece in itself, in which tremolos and leaps are studied. This number is part of the third section of Liszt’s work which went missing in 1874 and which he thought he would have to write out again, but did not, and which turned up as recently as 1975, settling for ever the doubts that the ‘12 große Etüden’, were anything other than technical exercises rather than composed studies similar to Liszt’s other famous works of like title.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1998