Pianist Ragna Schirmer has always found combining and confronting music of the past and the present an appealing and rewarding challenge. In the case of the Chopin Etudes this was particularly promising, because the twentieth century brought forth a host of significant etude cycles which stand up to comparison with those of Chopin as well as those of Schumann and Liszt.
In this respect, one need only think of the works by Skryabin, Debussy and Messiaen, all of which were written in the first half of the century. Ragna Schirmer explains that her reason for choosing studies by Corigliano was based on the clear correlation to the etudes of the nineteenth century. Indeed, Corigliano's five-part Etude Fantasy of 1976 does seem to encompass both Chopin and Liszt, albeit broadened to include the tonal language of the twentieth century: Schoenberg's atonality and the percussive treatment of the piano as applied by Bartók and Stravinsky.