You must be having so much fun learning 25/11...... NOT!
They say it's the most devilish to play.
I suppose I can see why. It's also very, very, VERY satisfying to play, at well below performance tempo. Very rewarding work, and I have to fight myself to keep from practicing 5 or 6 hours every day on it. Chopin said no more than 3!
But I would say that 10/4 is the most 'devlish'. There are a few I think are more difficult than 25/11 obviously, but I think that some might agree that 10/4 is one of them. 25/11 has a sense of gravity, perfect weights and balances, that 10/4 does not have IMO. That is what makes it more difficult for me.
I don't envy you having to learn all these etudes, but I can respect you for taking on the challenge of doing so. I looked over your list, I would place 10/2 Am and 25/6 G#m in the most difficult category for my hands. Wow! You must have very agile fingers?
Not really. I have actually worked on 25/6 and I think it's not so difficult as many others, even though I didn't quite get it to performance tempo. I am not very good.
But Alfie and I have been arguing about 10/2 in email, and since I have never really worked hard on this one, I will have to concede that I probably have no idea what I am talking about.
25/12 and 25/1 are not difficult once you start learning them, it's just an endurance issue. Pssst: Finger push ups help!
I am not so sure any more that endurance is exactly the right word for what these two require. I think that the arm/wrist/finger technique must be just exactly so, and if it's not, then the tension will cause damage whether or not your 'endurance' is good. I am still thinking of peppering my senior recital with several from op. 25; probably 1, 6, 11, and 12, but I don't think I will play them as a group. Probably open the program with 25/1, then play maybe some Debussy and a Beethoven sonata, and end the first half with 25/11. Then open the second half with 25/6, then play the Bach c minor partita, then end with 25/12. If I can do it.
But, if your piano's action is stiff, you may run out of steam fast.
I have a piano to practice on in my teacher's office - a Kawai that's been reworked a lot - that is wonderfully fluid and delicate. Can't get a sound out of it, but I imagine it's similar to the sort of piano that Chopin loved. I prefer playing on the Steinway in the recital hall of course - I love that sound - but I try not to treat it as a practice piano too often. It makes me feel guilty. There is another piano in my teacher's office - a Howard, also heavily reworked - that has stiff action, and my teacher uses it to practice because it makes performance easier, but I can't do it. Plus, she has hand injuries, and she concedes that it's probably because she's always favored practice pianos with stiff action.
BTW, why don't you post any recordings of this great repertoire?... I'd love to hear more Chopin Etudes on PS...
I don't have any recording equipment. Maybe one day I can afford some, and then I will record the ones I have worked on. I might play 25/11 for recital class, and if I do, there will be a recording, but the sound will probably not be all that great, and since it's live (in front of a few hundred music students) there is bound to be an error or three that I just can't live with, lol. But I will probably post it in the general forum for the curious, as usual.