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Thread: Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kontrapunctus View Post
    Hi Mr. Hinton--it's nice to have someone with your expertise posting here.
    Thank you kindly. I just thought that it would be good to provide some information for those who are already interested and those who might become interested because of the provision of that information! That said, I am immensely indebted to the performers, editors, record companies and scholars who have done and continue to do so very much in support of the cause of this remarkable composer and I should add that it has been and continues to be a great privilege for me to be involved in the formation and development of the archive to that end.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kontrapunctus View Post
    Hi Mr. Hinton--it's nice to have someone with your expertise posting here.
    Thank you; you're welcome!

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    Sorabji: Highlights from the organ symphonies

    ATTENTION ALL ORGANISTS! (and anyone else interested, of course)...

    The organist Kevin Bowyer has posted the following on his Facebook page:

    "THERE'S NO ORGAN MUSIC BY K S SORABJI THAT WILL FIT INTO A NORMAL CONCERT PROGRAMME". This is now false!

    I'm preparing a series of extracts from the middle movement of Symphony 2, varying in length from 3 to 10 minutes, each able to stand alone in a concert programme. Individual variations (a pair of variations in one case) that are effectively concert studies, quite able to hold their own without the rest of the movement. There'll be eight small volumes, just a few pages each, the first of which will be issued in March 2017. They will include comprehensive and detailed suggestions as to how to go about tackling the various specific difficulties. This is the mature Sorabji - lyrical, fiery, colourful, dramatic, mercurial, elegant, romantic, totally original. If you're only familiar with the dark, volcanic deity of the first symphony, this is a voice you won't have heard yet. Can't wait? The Toccata from Symphony 2, although not itself part of my forthcoming series, is already available separately from the Sorabji Archive, as print or PDF download. The address is http://www.sorabji-archive.co.uk.

    Occupying about 14 minutes in performance, the Toccata is a tough nut to crack, tougher than anything in the upcoming series, but there will be players out there who can do it - and I've no doubt they will. What's kept the name of K S Sorabji separate from the mainstream of 20th century organ music history is the fact that his 17 hours of organ music is given to us in just three huge pieces, overwhelmingly problematic to rehearse and schedule. But he is a genius, largely unknown to organists, though deserving of a place at the top table of truly great writers for the instrument. I hope that, with this new prospect, things are about to change."

    Since the world première of Sorabji's Organ Symphony No.1 almost 30 years ago, Sorabji's works for organ solo have been associated almost exclusively with just one name – the extraordinary virtuoso organist Kevin Bowyer.

    Sorabji's organ music comprises just three symphonies, each cast in three movements, the first of relatively modest proportions (a mere bagatelle, indeed, at a whisker under 2 hours!) and the other two of a monumentality rare even for Sorabji, their durations being at least 8 hours apiece!

    So far, Kevin has recorded Organ Symphony No. 1 (released in 1989 and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in 1991) and performed it on seven subsequent occasions in as many countries; he has also given two complete and several partial performances of Organ Symphony No. 2, with a third complete performance scheduled for 10 February 2017 in University of Iowa, US.

    Kevin's remarkable critical typeset editions of all three symphonies are a tremendous contribution to the project to edit all of Sorabji's scores; however, the prospect of preparing performances of the second and third of them remains uniquely daunting. Kevin's concern about the risk that this will keep them outside the mainstream of organ repertoire is matched by his desire – which many surely share – to hear at least something of this music played by other organists and to encourage them to take up this challenge.

    Kevin's aim is therefore to persuade organists to prepare these items as standalone pieces for inclusion in recital programmes, with the additional hope that some might be selected by juries of international organ competitions as test pieces for candidates.

    This project is accordingly launched with the brilliantly effervescent celestial firework display that is the Toccata which closes the opening section of the finale of Organ Symphony No. 2; it is a coruscating virtuoso display piece of the highest order that transcends all expectations of an organ toccata. This is already available separately; please visit the catalogue of works on the Sorabji Archive website (www.sorabji-archive.co.uk ) for information about it; copies of this, either in paper format or as a .pdf file, may be obtained by emailing sorabji-archive.co.uk .

    Watch this space for the addition of more such extracts in 2017 (these will be taken from the symphony's massive middle movement Theme and Variations).

    We wish the very best of success to all intrepid organists who take up this viscerally exciting challenge!
    Last edited by ahinton; Dec-16-2016 at 16:39.

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    SORABJI: NEW FILM DOCUMENTARY AND PERFORMANCES

    Organist Kevin Bowyer recently gave the US première of Sorabji’s Organ Symphony No. 2 in University of Iowa where he had been invited to inaugurate its concert hall’s new Klais organ following a disastrous flood in 2008 that destroyed the venue and its previous organ. Kevin’s performance of this massive three movement work, more than eight hours in duration, was received with great enthusiasm.

    Kevin devoted thousands of hours over many years to the preparation of the world première that he gave in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2010. He has since created magnificent typeset critical editions of all three Sorabji organ symphonies, of which copies are available from The Sorabji Archive (see www.sorabji-archive.co.uk ), along with all of Sorabji’s other scores and literary writings,.

    A crowd-funded film documentary about the organ symphonies project, with especial reference to the second symphony, is being made in Iowa, of which details and a link may be found on the Sorabji Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/KaikhosruSh...86688958099556 ; to quote:
    "A remarkable story rich with cinematic potential: the deluge of 2008, the effort to rebuild, the musical palace that rose forth, the remarkable organ placed at its heart, the magician (Kevin Bowyer) called upon to give it life, and the 8 1/2 hour Sorabjian incantation.

    Please consider making a contribution to help assist in the funding effort to produce this film:

    Sorabji in Iowa: A documentary

    Help GOLDrush raise $8,000 for the project: Sorabji in Iowa: A documentary. Your gift will make a difference!"

    The link to donate is goldrush.uiowa.edu . So far, almost 50% of the required sum has been raised, so yes, do please give generously towards this historic project!




    Pianist Jonathan Powell will be touring what is still Sorabji’s most famous work, Opus Clavicembalisticum, this year. To date, six performances have been confirmed, as follows:

    050517 Brighton, UK: St. Michael’s Church

    090517 London, UK: Rosslyn Hill Chapel

    130517 Oxford, UK: Jacqueline du Pré Music Building

    011017 Karlsruhe, Germany: Musentempel

    061017 Glasgow, Scotland: Concert Hall, University of Glasgow

    251017 Brno, Czechia: Concert hall JAMU (Janáček Academy)

    Other dates and venues are in the pipeline.

    This seminal work will never have received so many performances within a single year!

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    Last Saturday, 13 May, at Oxford's Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, Jonathan Powell gave what was probably the finest performance that Sorabji's monumental Opus Clavicembalisticum has ever received. It was only its 17th performance since the composer's own world première in Glasgow in 1930.

    After an unsettled and rather rushed brief opening Introito, the ensuing Preludio Corale occasionally exhibited similar issues but, once Jonathan launched into the first of the four fugues in the work, he was on top form and remained there throughout. There were some devastating moments of fulminating virtuosity alongside the most sensitively shaped phrasing in the fugues whose essential bel canto qualities he brought to the fore and without which they can risk sounding rather like rigorous intellectual exercises. The reticence and pervasive stillness of the mermerising Adagio that comes around two-thirds of the way through the work was another high point. Jonathan held the audience's rapt attention throughout its near 4½ hours, a not inconsiderable feat in itself; the audience response and glowing comments after it testify to the great success of his achievement.

    The page turner was also excellent!

    Jonathan had given two performances of the work in the previous 8 days and has at least four more this year, in Karlsruhe, Glasgow, Brno and Tianjin. It is fair to say that the piece has never had so much exposure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ahinton View Post
    Last Saturday, 13 May, at Oxford's Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, Jonathan Powell gave what was probably the finest performance that Sorabji's monumental Opus Clavicembalisticum has ever received. It was only its 17th performance since the composer's own world première in Glasgow in 1930.

    After an unsettled and rather rushed brief opening Introito, the ensuing Preludio Corale occasionally exhibited similar issues but, once Jonathan launched into the first of the four fugues in the work, he was on top form and remained there throughout. There were some devastating moments of fulminating virtuosity alongside the most sensitively shaped phrasing in the fugues whose essential bel canto qualities he brought to the fore and without which they can risk sounding rather like rigorous intellectual exercises. The reticence and pervasive stillness of the mermerising Adagio that comes around two-thirds of the way through the work was another high point. Jonathan held the audience's rapt attention throughout its near 4½ hours, a not inconsiderable feat in itself; the audience response and glowing comments after it testify to the great success of his achievement.

    The page turner was also excellent!

    Jonathan had given two performances of the work in the previous 8 days and has at least four more this year, in Karlsruhe, Glasgow, Brno and Tianjin. It is fair to say that the piece has never had so much exposure.
    Has this work ever been recorded? If not, are there any plans to make a recording in the near future? I'd love to hear this mammoth Opus Clavicembalisticum and there's no way that I'm going to try to sight-read through it myself!!
    "Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music." - Rachmaninoff

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina View Post
    Has this work ever been recorded? If not, are there any plans to make a recording in the near future? I'd love to hear this mammoth Opus Clavicembalisticum and there's no way that I'm going to try to sight-read through it myself!!
    Oh sure. John Ogdon's is the one to get at the moment:



    https://www.amazon.com/Sorabji-Opus-...+ogdon+sorabji

    Jonathan Powell will probably record it someday. In the meantime, he is about to release his recording of a 7-hour Sorabji piece, "Sequentia Cycilca sopra Dies Irae ex missa pro defunctis." It is supposed to be even more demanding than "O.C."! Now that will be something to hear!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kontrapunctus View Post
    Oh sure. John Ogdon's is the one to get at the moment:



    https://www.amazon.com/Sorabji-Opus-...+ogdon+sorabji

    Jonathan Powell will probably record it someday. In the meantime, he is about to release his recording of a 7-hour Sorabji piece, "Sequentia Cycilca sopra Dies Irae ex missa pro defunctis." It is supposed to be even more demanding than "O.C."! Now that will be something to hear!
    I'm sure that Jonathan will record OC eventually but no specific plans have been made as yet, In the meantime, the work due for release this year (Sequentia Cyclica super Dies Iræ) turns out to be all of 500 minutes and occupy 7 CDs; it will indeed hopefully be released soon. However, I'm not sure that it's "more demanding" than OC except in being around twice its length! I attended the world première of it in Glasgow in 2010.
    Last edited by ahinton; May-19-2017 at 04:39.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ahinton View Post
    I'm sure that Jonathan will record OC eventually but no specific plans have been made as yet, In the meantime, the work due for release this year (Sequentia Cyclica super Dies Iræ) turns out to be all of 500 minutes and occupy 7 CDs; it will indeed hopefully be released soon. However, I'm not sure that it's "more demanding" than OC except in being around twice its length! I attended the world première of it in Glasgow in 2010.
    I thought I read somewhere that it has even denser writing and more overtly virtuoso passages. It really doesn't need to be any harder than "O.C."!

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    Quote Originally Posted by PetrB View Post
    One guy's taste - Just Like All Entries In This Thread (and every entry in this entire forum.) ... that includes your opinion(s), just in case you were thinking you are a special case... which I am certain you do not.

    You know any Gods or Demigods, I'd like to meet'em.
    did i come too late to the party?

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    But yes. it is clearly time to resurrect Sorabji's thread.

    *nods, he is by far my favourite, with Messeian as a close second.

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    Have you ever listen Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji - The perfumed garden with Michael Habermann in piano,
    live in rocky river, ohio 19-11-84? It was an amazing perfomance!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by xrysida View Post
    Have you ever listen Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji - The perfumed garden with Michael Habermann in piano,
    live in rocky river, ohio 19-11-84? It was an amazing perfomance!!
    Try also Yonty Solomon's recording of it on Altarus. At least a dozen other pianists have performed this piece and Jonathan Powell has recently recorded it for Piano Classics label (not yet released).

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    After a long wait, Powell's recording of Sequentia cyclica is at last listed on Piano Classics's website and is to be released in January next year:

    https://www.piano-classics.com/artic...entia-cyclica/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sequentia View Post
    After a long wait, Powell's recording of Sequentia cyclica is at last listed on Piano Classics's website and is to be released in January next year:

    https://www.piano-classics.com/artic...entia-cyclica/
    Yes, a very long wait indeed! - but it will be well worth it! Also soon to be released are Vols. VI & VII to complete Fredrik Ullén's survey of the 100 Transcendental Studies and Abel Sánchez-Aguilera's 2-CD set of Toccata seconda.

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