Author Topic: Sorabji's Sandcastle  (Read 13259 times)

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Offline ahinton

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Re: Sorabji's Sandcastle
« Reply #80 on: November 07, 2016, 01:51:05 AM »
Thanks very much for that, I came across that forum at one point but I didn't end up joining for some reason. There are many, many things I am interested in learning about his work!  ;D
Well, the website has a good deal of information and there are two books -  Sorabji: A Critical Celebration, ed. Prof. Paul Rapoport (available from The Sorabji Archive) and the more recent (and ongoing) Opus Sorabjianum by Prof. Marc-André Roberge which is available free to download from the Sorabji Resource Site at http://www.mus.ulaval.ca/roberge/srs/07-prese.htm ; the Sorabji Reource Site at http://www.mus.ulaval.ca/roberge/srs/index.htm also has a wealth of other information.

Should you have any questions or need scores, literary writings &c., please feel free to write to sorabji-archive@lineone.net . In the meantime, you are, of course, welcome to join the forum!
« Last Edit: November 07, 2016, 03:51:13 AM by ahinton »

Offline ahinton

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Re: Sorabji's Sandcastle
« Reply #81 on: December 16, 2016, 07:37:36 AM »
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 Edit: December 16, 2016, 07:40:16 AM by ahinton »

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Sorabji's Sandcastle
« Reply #82 on: December 16, 2016, 07:42:06 AM »
Zowie.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline ahinton

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Re: Sorabji's Sandcastle
« Reply #83 on: March 08, 2017, 03:52:35 AM »
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/KaikhosruShapurjiSorabji/posts/983423815092737?comment_id=986688958099556 ; 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!

Offline α | ì Æ ñ

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Re: Sorabji's Sandcastle
« Reply #84 on: April 02, 2017, 10:10:58 PM »
Ok, I'm going through another Sorabji phase, please be free to assault me with recommendations.

I'm particularly in the mood for organ music right now, I listened to his 1st Organ Symphony again this afternoon  :D
« Last Edit: April 02, 2017, 10:15:28 PM by Thatfabulousalien »
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Offline ahinton

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Re: Sorabji's Sandcastle
« Reply #85 on: May 18, 2017, 01:52:48 AM »
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 mesmerising 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.

Offline α | ì Æ ñ

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Re: Sorabji's Sandcastle
« Reply #86 on: May 18, 2017, 02:01:41 AM »
That made me really happy to hear about! Sorabji in general and Opus Clavicembalisticum are important to me, it is exciting to see works such as this getting some more wider exposure. Thanks for letting us know Ahinton  :D

Also I've been reading Paul Rapoport's book "A Critical Celebration", which provides quite a good overview of Sorabji's life. Have you read it? (I would presume) and if you have, what do you think?  8)
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Offline ahinton

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Re: Sorabji's Sandcastle
« Reply #87 on: May 18, 2017, 02:27:59 AM »
That made me really happy to hear about! Sorabji in general and Opus Clavicembalisticum are important to me, it is exciting to see works such as this getting some more wider exposure. Thanks for letting us know Ahinton  :D

Also I've been reading Paul Rapoport's book "A Critical Celebration", which provides quite a good overview of Sorabji's life. Have you read it? (I would presume) and if you have, what do you think?  8)
Have I read it? I contributed two chapters as well as various research material to it!

Although it doesn't displace what remains a most valuable source of information, Marc-André Roberge's Opus Sorabjianum, first published in 2013, reveals the benefit of much research undertaken since publication of Paul Rapoport's book in 1992; it's available for free online at http://www.mus.ulaval.ca/roberge/srs/07-prese.htm (where you'll find download instructions) and is updated from time to time. If you've enjoyed reading the Rapoport (to which Roberge also contributed), you' be sure to enjoy reading this!

Offline α | ì Æ ñ

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Re: Sorabji's Sandcastle
« Reply #88 on: May 18, 2017, 02:42:12 AM »
Have I read it? I contributed two chapters as well as various research material to it!

Wow, I didn't realize that  :o :o But it makes sense (as you own/run the forum and archive) but I never connected the dots.
I actually read your opening chapter a few days ago, the book is very great so far. Sorabji's been a composer that has maintained a regular fascination and kindred connection (metaphorically), he's inspiring and I relate to his music, ideas and ambition very much  :)

Although it doesn't displace what remains a most valuable source of information, Marc-André Roberge's Opus Sorabjianum, first published in 2013, reveals the benefit of much research undertaken since publication of Paul Rapoport's book in 1992; it's available for free online at http://www.mus.ulaval.ca/roberge/srs/07-prese.htm (where you'll find download instructions) and is updated from time to time. If you've enjoyed reading the Rapoport (to which Roberge also contributed), you' be sure to enjoy reading this!

Thank you very much, I will look be looking into that  :D
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Offline Dax

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Re: Sorabji's Sandcastle
« Reply #89 on: May 18, 2017, 07:03:36 AM »
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 mesmerising 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.
I attended the Oxford performance also and mighty impressive it was too.
As before, Jonathan put a great deal of effort making the fugues sound persuasive, particularly successfully with regard to the last one. The opening was certainly fast, approaching Yonty Solomon tempo - I rather like that approach. Also memorable was the Fantasia - which had never particularly struck me before. Most memorable of all was the brief Quasi Tambura section in the Passacaglia which featured an unusual and most extraordinary piano sound.

Not only was the page turner excellent, but he stood for the whole performance!

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