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Thread: Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    What's a good place to start w/ Sorabji's piano music? Preferably something under 7 hours please.

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    Senior Member norman bates's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    What's a good place to start w/ Sorabji's piano music? Preferably something under 7 hours please.
    check out the nocturnes." Gulistan - the rose garden" for example. Great decadent, dreamy and intoxicating music. If you're obssessed with form or melodies though, it could not be for you.
    What time is the next swan?

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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    What's a good place to start w/ Sorabji's piano music? Preferably something under 7 hours please.
    That might depend on how familiar you are with 20th-century music, but in general, I would suggest the following:

    • Concerto per suonare da me solo: recorded by Jonathan Powell for Altarus
    • 100 Transcendental Studies: the first 83 have been recorded by Fredrik Ullén for BIS on five CDs. All the recordings contain some gems (and a couple lesser pieces), but I would say the 5th volume is the least accessible one.
    • Other Powell recordings: Fantasia ispanica and both the Un nido and Villa Tasca discs are worth checking out.
    • Piano Sonata No. 1: an early piece displaying a strong influence of Scriabin, in a superb performance by Hamelin


    Despite its length, I would recommend not shying away from Sequentia cyclica; it is a set of variations on the Dies irae chant, which gives the work a sense of familiarity, and many of the variations are not that long. If you do decide to make it an entry point into Sorabji, I would highlight disc 4 of the upcoming Powell recording, which contains many of the work's most accessible "character pieces".

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  5. #109
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    ^I like to consider myself very familiar with 20th C. music, it’s probably the focal point of my classical music interests. But Sorabji is a composer who has evaded my interest thus far. I am fascinated by the long pieces, but I don’t know if they’d be a good entry point.

    I’ll look into your suggestions, though. Thanks.

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    Ooooh, a Sorabji thread--this really is a great site! I've been a huge fan of his music for a long time. I think I own just about every CD (and a few LPs) that's been released, and I'm certainly looking forward to the new Sequentia cyclica recording by Jonathan Powell.

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    Hot on the heels of Sequentia cyclica, Piano Classics has announced the upcoming release of Sorabji's Toccata seconda, under the hands of Abel Sanchéz-Aguilera:

    https://www.piano-classics.com/artic...er-pianoforte/

    This piece, which I plugged in this thread all the way back in November 2011, is one of the most easily approachable of Sorabji's large-scale works and I would recommend it to anyone interested in exploring Sorabji's music.
    Last edited by Sequentia; Feb-01-2020 at 17:06.

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sequentia View Post
    Hot on the heels of Sequentia cyclica, Piano Classics has announced the upcoming release of Sorabji's Toccata seconda, under the hands of Abel Sanchéz-Aguilera:

    https://www.piano-classics.com/artic...er-pianoforte/

    This piece, which I plugged in this thread all the way back in November 2011, is one of the most easily approachable of Sorabji's large-scale works and I would recommend it to anyone interested in exploring Sorabji's music.
    Complete with a badass Bosch album cover. I'm there.

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    Senior Member aussiebushman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    ^I like to consider myself very familiar with 20th C. music, it’s probably the focal point of my classical music interests. But Sorabji is a composer who has evaded my interest thus far. I am fascinated by the long pieces, but I don’t know if they’d be a good entry point.
    I am certainly indebted to Mr Hinton’s comments in this thread. Despite his strong (and very mixed) reputation, I was personally unaware of Sorabji’s work. That is especially silly because I discovered Fredric Ullen’s CD featuring the first set of 25 of the “100 Transcendental Studies for Piano” hidden in plain sight in my collection. I may have played it before, but that is unlikely because once heard, it is near impossible to forget.

    Having done some research, I now understand Sorabji to have “a highly idiosyncratic style fusing diverse influences, initially strongly influenced by Scrabin even though Sorabji subsequently became a critic of the former’s musical style and fell more under the influence of Busoni, Debussy and Lizst amongst others.(Source - Wikipedia).

    I do not find it to be atonal and it is indeed very satisfying music. Listening to the studies, I became attuned to his complex harmonies, rhythms and ornamentation. It is not my impression that the works are atonal– they are far more complex and range from entwined melodic phrases, wild dances, sensual nocturnes to staccato chords. (Comments taken from the sleeve notes).

    This is number 71 of the studies: https://youtu.be/vocgV-oM6Io

    Why stop there?

    The Rose Garden: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZs01TevxbM

    Fantaisie Espagnole https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBdyq5lNn8k
    Last edited by aussiebushman; Feb-07-2020 at 02:49.

  12. #114
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    Happy 128th birthday, Sorabji! (I suppose I ought to celebrate it somehow...)

  13. #115
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sequentia View Post
    Happy 128th birthday, Sorabji! (I suppose I ought to celebrate it somehow...)
    Likewise, maybe I ought to finally check out his music. What's his shortest piece? Anything under an hour?

    Edit: Never mind, someone already kindly created a list of recommendations for me earlier in the thread, which it appears I've ignored.
    Last edited by flamencosketches; Aug-14-2020 at 12:58.

  14. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    Likewise, maybe I ought to finally check out his music. What's his shortest piece? Anything under an hour?

    Edit: Never mind, someone already kindly created a list of recommendations for me earlier in the thread, which it appears I've ignored.
    No worries about that. I also mentioned Toccata seconda earlier in this thread, which, despite being 2.5 hours long, is one of his more accessible large-scale works. You can sample its first movement, which fuses his rhapsodic style and baroque influences, at the link below:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUGL9npC1Vo

    Here are a few further short pieces/excerpts to get you going:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtYztW1e8aQ
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ctKg39LfSA
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gno0CMkQ8_A
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrg08sctGBY
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofLqtG6xNCI

    And if you're feeling brave (or have some time to spare), here is the Symphonic Nocturne for Piano Alone (all 2+ hours of it):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQX-YPIBd0w

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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    Likewise, maybe I ought to finally check out his music. What's his shortest piece? Anything under an hour?

    Edit: Never mind, someone already kindly created a list of recommendations for me earlier in the thread, which it appears I've ignored.
    Indeed but many things, as you will by now have seen - and all scores available from us as both printed copies and .pdf files (www.sorabji-archive.co.uk) by emailing sorabji.archive@gmail.com .

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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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!
    The story goes that one of Ogden‘s friends bought the score in a car boot sale or something. Ogden put it on the piano and sight read his way completely through it at one go!

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  18. #119
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    Even though some of his available pieces are several hours long, one doesn't have to listen to them in one sitting! Try a movement at a time. As Sequentia said, Sequentia cyclica super "Dies irae" ex Missa pro defunctis is fairly accessible despite its enormous length. Having a memorable theme as the basis helps.

  19. #120
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sequentia View Post
    No worries about that. I also mentioned Toccata seconda earlier in this thread, which, despite being 2.5 hours long, is one of his more accessible large-scale works. You can sample its first movement, which fuses his rhapsodic style and baroque influences, at the link below:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUGL9npC1Vo

    Here are a few further short pieces/excerpts to get you going:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtYztW1e8aQ
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ctKg39LfSA
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gno0CMkQ8_A
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrg08sctGBY
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofLqtG6xNCI

    And if you're feeling brave (or have some time to spare), here is the Symphonic Nocturne for Piano Alone (all 2+ hours of it):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQX-YPIBd0w
    I enjoyed the first one, the movement from the Toccata Seconda. Very Scriabin-esque, especially harmonically, but with textures almost like a Baroque toccata. I'll have to get around to the others.

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