A wonderful piece, but very difficult _ only a few will be able to master it Œî. Since this pronouncement by Nicolai Rubinstein, who nonetheless premired it with bravura, the work has unjustly been stuck with the label of unplayableŒî. The wild, almost demonic character of this oriental fantasyŒî has certainly contributed to this reputation: through the use of Caucasian and Armenian folk idioms Balakirev calls forth a keyboardfirework that aroused the admiration even of the Titan Liszt. Our editi on provides todays pianists with a musical text that is not only reliable and accurate, but also clear and well-organised.?