Debussy composed this cycle, and other masterful late works, in the summer of 1915. He had withdrawn to a country house near Dieppe with his family and composed with fevered concentration. The self-critical composer was very proud of his ?tudes: ?I confess that I am pleased to have created a work which ? false vanity aside ? will occupy a special niche. In point of technique these ?tudes will usefully prepare pianists for a better understanding of the fact that the portals of music can only be opened with formidable hands.? Debussy?s ?tudes are today a milestone along the path of those desirous of becoming concert pianists.