To begin with, I should congratulate Nikolai Lugansky on recording these works. Many 'great' 20th century pianists have refused to record the complete Chopin Etudes. Chopin Etudes are technically challenging, so being able to get one's hands around the notes is tricky, but clear articulation, elegance of phrasing and line and emphasising the poetry of the works are all hard to obtain. Thankfully, Lugansky achieves all of these things. In most cases, he brings clarity and control but also emotion and maturity to each study. Each one is controlled with freshness and individuality. The C-sharp minor study from opus 10 is particularly well handled in terms of dynamics and precision. Lugansky uses rubati in the majority of the works, but I was particularly impressed by the rubato used in the well-known 'Black-key' Study (Op.10, No.5). Lugansky also proves that these fiendishly difficult pieces are no match for his technical capacity, playing some of the studies at break-neck speed, accurately and with musicality. The Opus 10 F major study is handled at high speed with both exactness and clear articulation. Most of the G-sharp study in Op.15 (Double-thirds) is held together well, although occasionally at the expense of clarity (in the right hand).
The recording engineers at Erato have successfully captured the Steinway sound, with the assistance of a sympathetic acoustic. I heartily recommend this recording, and look forward to seeing any future Lugansky recordings.