KAIKHOSRU SORABJI (1892-1988): 100 Transcendental Studies - Nos. 72-83.
Catalogue Number: 05R053
Description: Volume 5 in this essential series for Sorabji enthusiasts continues to demonstrate the limitless pianistic imagination of this utterly sui generis composer. By this stage in his huge cycle of 'studies', Sorabji had long since exhausted the constraining parameters set by studies in such-and-such intervals, textures or virtuoso mécanique, and was punctuating the series with large-scale genre pieces in his favourite forms, of which we find two here, both fine specimens of their type. The first is a distinguished chorale prelude, beginning in stately sobriety but accumulating contrapuntal complexity and density of texture and culminating, as was the composers wont in such movements, in the imposing splendour of organo pieno sonority. The other is an even larger, and more impressive, example of Sorabji's oft-revisited passacaglia form. Half an hour, ten-squared variations, the piece decorates its economical ground bass with the customary extravagant generosity of Sorabjian figuration of every kind, the tension and texture ebbing and flowing in exquisitely judged proportions before the final apocalyptic onslaught of cataclysmic variations not unlike that that concludes the similar movement in Opus Clavicembalisticum. After this monolith, Sorabji returns to writing 'studies' of a sort, but now in advanced Sorabjian figurations, as if to say 'if you're going to presume to play my music you had better be entirely fluent in these techniques!' And there are a handful of short character pieces - a grotesque scherzo-like ostinato, a hair-raisingly aggressive toccata-like piece, and so on. Fredrik Ullén (piano).