KAIKHOSRU SORABJI (1892-1988): 100 Transcendental Studies - Nos. 63-71.
Catalogue Number: 06Q063
Description: Here, finally, is the much anticipated fourth volume of this pioneering series. The eight studies on this volume follow the by now familiar pattern; extended character pieces in Sorabji's favorite forms, interspersed with pieces lasting just a few minutes that concentrate on specific chord formations, figuration or textures. By this point in the set, though, Sorabji had largely given up dutifully writing 'études', and even among these, some sound less like technical studies than others; the gorgeous No. 66 for instance weaves a lovely thread of melody through shifting washes of ravishing colored harmonies, and the hair-raising No. 70, 'broken rhythms' is a kind of jaggedly angular diabolical scherzo. The CD starts with the splendid waltz, No. 63, a tremendously vital and appealing piece, strongly reminiscent of the much earlier Valse-fantaisie (though in the rather less conventionally tonal language of the composer's mature style), and similarly demanding to be accepted into mainsteam repertorire as an example of Sorabji's most accessible pieces of moderate length (about a quarter-hour). It ends with the beautiful Aria, a type of linearly melodic slow movement to which the composer repeatedly returned; and contains one of the larger and most impressive of the entire set, the pedal-point No. 69. Like the other examples of this type of movement in Sorabji's output, the piece sets up an hypnotic repeating note, which is then progressively embellished with chords and increasingly elaborate ornamentation, a fractal efflorescence common to the composer's densely-textured nocturnes and variation forms. Fredrik Ullén (piano).