A short introduction:
The meaning of virtuoso has its roots in the Italian usage of the 16th and 17th centuries, signifying an honorific term reserved for a person distinguished in any intellectual or artistic field. The term evolved with time, simultaneously broadening and narrowing in scope as interpretations went in and out of fashion and debates unravel. Originally a musician was honored the classification by being a composer, theorist or famous maestro, more importantly than being a skilled performer. In the late 18th century, people began to use the term to describe a instrumentalist or vocalist who pursued a career as a soloist. The tension about the merit of practical virtuosity started to grow at the same time and intensified in the 19th century, only to remain an open debate since then. Franz Liszt, considered one of the greatest of all virtuosos, declared that "virtuosity is not an outgrowth, but an indispensable element of music"
Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
12 Etudes Op 25
Chopin's Études formed the foundation for what was then a revolutionary playing style for the piano. They are some of the most challenging and evocative pieces of all the works in concert piano repertoire. Because of this, the music remains popular and often performed in both concert and private stages. His études combine musical substance and technical challenge to form a complete artistic form !
Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
Liszt's Sonata in B minor was completed in 1853 and published in 1854 with a dedication to Robert Schumann. Liszt noted on the sonata's manuscript that it was completed on February 2, 1853, but he had composed an earlier version by 1849. At this point in his life, Liszt's career as a traveling virtuoso had almost entirely subsided, as he had been influenced towards leading the life of a composer rather than a performer. The sonata unfolds in approximately 30 minutes of unbroken music. While its four distinct movements are rolled into one, the entire work is encompassed within the traditional Classical sonata scheme — exposition, development, and recapitulation. Liszt has effectively composed a sonata within a sonata, which is part of the work's uniqueness.