i believe it to be one of Chopin's true masterpieces with the first and fourth ballades and his Barcarcolle (i just started realised the brilliance and beauty of this piece) and of course his two polonaises in A flat major. (Heroic and Fantasy). I heard it was the most technically difficulty out of all of these pieces though, though it does not sound as hard as the fourth ballade... Anyway i may have to try it if it is not overly difficult.
You're right about it being a true masterpiece. I don't think it is harder than the 4th Ballade, though. It's just really long, which is why I may not get this one down completely. I'm not very patient.
I think the piece is much less intimidating than when you first hear it.
That's how I felt when I read through it, too.