KAIKHOSRU SHAPURJI SORABJI (1892-1988): Sequentia Cyclica Super Dies irae ex Missa pro Defunctis in clavicembali usum.
Catalogue Number: 02V012
Label: Piano Classics
Description: Sequentia Cyclica is unquestionably one of Sorabji’s greatest and most significant works (he regarded it as one of his best). It was his final work of the 1940s, a fertile decade that also produced the enormous set of Transcendental Studies (05R053 et al. - more coming soon); his nocturne to end all nocturnes, Gulistān (Altarus 9036); the M.R.James ghost story pieces (Altarus 9025); and the astonishing Concerto per suonare da me solo (02I062). Twenty-seven (3 cubed) variations on the Dies irae - (that description alone makes it a tantalizing prospect, doesn’t it?) - Sorabji clearly relished pouring the best and most characteristic of himself into his colossal elaboration of Tommaso di Celano's great plainchant melody. Outstanding examples of many of his favorite forms are here, several of which could easily function as self-contained works in their own right - the large Chorale Prelude, the exquisite Aria, the Gulistān-esque Nocturne, the colossal Passacaglia (with 100 variations of its own!) for instance. Shorter movements of specific character - a Waltz, "Quasi Debussy" (yes, really!), a funeral march and variations in various textures and techniques recall key pieces from the 100 Transcendental Studies, and of course the work is crowned with a massive (quintuple) Fugue and Coda stretta. There is transcendental virtuosity aplenty, naturally, but also many passages of sheer, exotic beauty, what Ronald Stevenson (describing another Sorabji work) called 'Oriental stasis and calm', and Sorabji’s unique textures, the whole governed by an astonishing sense of large-scale structure. 7 CDs. Jonathan Powell (piano).