Reynolds’ Etudes allows the performer to not only choose the number of Etudes to be presented (even repeating them, if desired) as well as their order. In this way, the performer becomes a co-creator with the composer. All 12 Etudes are presented in this recording by Eric Huebner.
Each etude inhabits a world distinctly its own. Reynolds dares a remarkable leap from the first to the second book. Rather than merely continue the premises and promises established by the first six etudes, the second six constitute a difference in kind rather than an extension. Their complexity is intensified, their investigations more extreme, even though they make comparable technical demands. The Etudes carry subtle quotations from Reynolds’ own, earlier piano works as well as the traditional literature of piano etudes. The lineup Reynolds has chosen includes Chopin, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Debussy, and Ligeti. Yet these allusions are not mere homages, and these quotations range from fleeting to obsessive.