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Virtual performance of Sorabji


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Author Topic: Virtual performance of Sorabji  (Read 1329 times)
ahinton
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« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2011, 11:33:26 am »

The existence of the above resources, incidentally, is surely far less suggestive of a "prematurely forgotten composer" than of one who was arguably not "remembered" soon enough?...
Dare we suggest that the main person suggesting that suggestivity is... yourself?   Cheesy
At the risk of appearing rude (which I hasted to add is not my intention) by answering a question with more than one more such,
(a) who are "we"?
(b) who was it that referred to Sorabji as a "prematurely forgotten composer" here in the first place? (i.e. not I)
(c) how would you define the act of "suggesting a suggestivity"?
(d) how would the above serve as an illuatration of (c)?
(e) why might I be expected to have any interest in whether or not the as yet unidentified "we" would do anything about this and
(f) on what grounds might it constitute any kind of "dare"?

That's right; you now wish that you (or was it "we"?) hadn't asked! I can't say that I blame you, really, but if "we" will ask such questions...
« Last Edit: January 09, 2013, 04:54:16 pm by ahinton » Report Spam   Logged
guest54
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« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2011, 02:18:19 pm »

Thanks to the respective Members for those two interesting and detailed responses (replies 12 and 13). Has any one had the idea of making a collection or compendium of all those lively letters to the newspapers about which we so often read? And another question might be about the history of the family - was the father the first to come to England, and if so why did he come? Perhaps the favourite factotum of a military man . . .

I will be taking John Waterhouse's little volume "Zoroastrianism" to bed with me this evening.
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ahinton
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« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2011, 03:11:22 pm »

Thanks to the respective Members for those two interesting and detailed responses (replies 12 and 13). Has any one had the idea of making a collection or compendium of all those lively letters to the newspapers about which we so often read? And another question might be about the history of the family - was the father the first to come to England, and if so why did he come? Perhaps the favourite factotum of a military man . . .
All of Sorabji's known "letters-to-the editor" have been available for some years from The Sorabji Archive as part of the two-volume Collected Published Writings which comprises photocopies of them; I'm sure that a few will still have escaped the net of discovery, but I'm pretty confident that almost all of this material is present therein (details on www.sorabji-archive.co.uk and enquiries via sorabji-archive@lineone.net).

Sorabji's father came to England in the 1880s to pursue his studies and his engineering career; the composer's mother was already in England and was born in that country - more of that will be revealed in Prof. Roberge's study of the composer when it's published.
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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2011, 03:46:20 pm »

Is it known how, and from whom, Sorabji acquired his evidently staggering technical mastery of the keyboard?  Wikipedia is frustratingly silent on this point.  He must, surely, have taken extensive formal lessons?

And may one enquire about the songs for soprano voice - are they a cycle, or an album set, or a looser collection...  and what texts are set in them?  I ask this question on behalf of an interested party, and not for myself.
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« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2011, 04:51:25 pm »

Is it known how, and from whom, Sorabji acquired his evidently staggering technical mastery of the keyboard?  Wikipedia is frustratingly silent on this point.  He must, surely, have taken extensive formal lessons?
Little is yet known about Sorabji's early life, not least his piano studies, other than that they appear to have been pursued privately rather than at a conservatoire as such; I can therefore only guess here, but it seems likely that much of his keyboard facility developed from strenuous bouts of working through the more big-boned works in the repertoire - Liszt, Alkan, Rachmaninoff, Godowsky, Busoni et al. He also used to practice from time to time on a Virgil Clavier (silent keyboard) and, when he did, he often gradually turned the pressure up to its full capacity, with a view to finding playing the actual piano afterwards a good deal less physically strenuous. I am also unable to comment helpfully on Sorabji's pianistic prowess when he was at what one may reasonably assume to have been the height of his powers as a player, which was during the years when he gave occasional performances, i.e. between the two world wars, as I am not 120+ years of age and there were no recordings made of his playing in those days; once he ceased to perform, however, it is fairly certain that he rarely practised any longer, concentrating as he did for many years largely on composition. He was in any case a somewhat reluctant performer.

And may one enquire about the songs for soprano voice - are they a cycle, or an album set, or a looser collection...  and what texts are set in them?  I ask this question on behalf of an interested party, and not for myself.
You may enquire about anything that you like! All of these are listed in the catalogue on the website (www.sorabji-archive.co.uk), including text sources and all but one have been recorded by the American team of Elizabeth Farnum and Margaret Kampmeier on the US Centaur label (details again are on the website); they comprise three cycles of three each and a number of individual ones, almost all to French texts. Charles Hopkins (1952-2007) translated all of these texts into English (although, of course, the songs are sung in the original French). Further details are to be found in Sorabji: A Critical Celebration to which I referred earlier. Sorabji played the piano in three of them in Paris in 1921 for soprano Marthe Martine; thereafter, there appear to have been no performances of any of them until 1979, when these and others were performed by Jane Manning and Yonty Solomon. Numerous sopranos across Europe and in US have performed them since those days; next to Elizabeth Farnum, the singer who has performed the most of them is the English soprano Sarah Leonard.
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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2011, 07:18:17 pm »

Thank you for the detailed and helpful reply to both questions  Smiley
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« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2011, 10:54:23 pm »

Thank you for the detailed and helpful reply to both questions  Smiley
You're more than welcome; if you need to know more, please do not hesitate to ask. My email address (as shown on the Sorabji website) is sorabji-archive@lineone.net if you wish to write directly.
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guest54
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« Reply #22 on: November 17, 2011, 04:34:31 am »

Actually I have always thought "Dudley" rather a nice name - but I suppose that at least is matter of individual preference. As a youth I had an "Uncle Dudley" who successfully supported his family though speculation on the stock "exchange." It is only in retrospect that I speculate, as must not we all!

But let us return to the music, and to a further question: how well did Sorabji know Brahms's piano-forte works - written after all only two or three short decades prior to his own but entirely different it would seem in purpose. Did he admire Brahms? Did he learn from him, even - as surely all persons of serious intent must? What precisely then (if anything) did he take from Brahms?

[Sorry I am yet to return to the question of the Chromatic Fantasy - it may yet be weeks, but it WILL happen, and it must be thoroughly done.]
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« Reply #23 on: November 17, 2011, 08:40:59 am »

I hope Mr Hinton will return to elucidate further.  His contributions on musical topics are very welcome and informative.
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davetubaking
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« Reply #24 on: December 27, 2011, 09:49:38 am »

In quicker time than it takes to play Sorabji's entire oeuvre I've rustled up a virtual performance of the third movement of the Toccata Seconda. A mere 6'45" with lots going on for those of you who like lots going on in your Sorabji. A fantasy cum cadenza type movement - with a subtle ending.

If you felt inclined to catch up on the first two movements you can pop back to the top of this thread.
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t-p
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« Reply #25 on: December 27, 2011, 04:11:40 pm »

Thank you davetubaking!!! IT is really like cadenza. I listened to few works by Sorabji that are available on youtube. There is influence of Tango Liszt and it all sounds very difficult. I think it is pasticio of many different styles. Thank you for posting Toccata here.
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guest54
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« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2012, 05:53:39 am »

While desultorily browsing among the impure matter of another forum I happened upon this hidden gem - a work of true scholarship which extends the sum of human knowledge in several ways. Its author is one Sequentia, obviously a most erudite being; and I take the liberty of reproducing it here in order that the invaluable information it contains might be more widely disseminated and preserved.

<Start of quotation:>

Not all of Sorabji's pieces are extremely (120+ minutes) long. A complete list of his works (I hope I'm not forgetting anything) looks like this (please note that it is comprised of a combination of estimates and performances):

540:00 – Symphonic Variations for Piano
510:00 – Organ Symphony No. 2
430:00 – Sequentia cyclica
423:05 – Études transcendantes (100)
400:00 – Organ Symphony No. 3
360:00 – Piano Sonata No. 5 (Opus archimagicum)
320:00 – Piano Symphony No. 0 [sic]
320:00 – Messa grande sinfonica
278:24 – Jāmī Symphony
274:00 – Piano Symphony No. 4
270:00 – Piano Symphony No. 1
270:00 – Piano Symphony No. 2
252:11 – Opus clavicembalisticum
240:00 – Piano Quintet No. 2
240:00 – Piano Symphony No. 6
220:00 – Variazioni e fuga triplice sopra “Dies irae”
200:00 – Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra
160:00 – Opusculum clavisymphonicum
150:00 – Piano Toccata No. 4
139:26 – Piano Sonata No. 4
135:00 – Piano Symphony No. 3
130:00 – Piano Toccata No. 2
124:17 – Piano Symphony No. 5 (Symphonia brevis)
120:00 – Symphonic Nocturne
117:34 – Organ Symphony No. 1
100:00 – Symphony No. 1
100:00 – Piano Concerto No. 8
100:00 – Opus clavisymphonicum
87:00 – Piano Sonata No. 3
86:00 – Il gallo d’oro
74:55 – Piano Toccata No. 1
66:33 – Concerto da suonare da me solo
65:00 – Frammenti aforistici (Sutras) (104)
63:57 – Fantasia ispanica
55:00 – Opus secretum
54:26 – Villa Tasca
52:13 – Piano Sonata No. 2
45:00 – Passacaglia (unfinished)
36:46 – Rosario d’arabeschi
35:00 – Piano Concerto No. 6
35:00 – Piano Concerto No. 1
33:33 – “Gulistān” — Nocturne for Piano
31:36 – Un nido di scatole
29:00 – Piano Concerto No. 5
26:20 – Piano Quintet No. 1
25:00 – Piano Concerto No. 7
25:00 – Piano Concerto No. 2
25:00 – Piano Concerto No. 3
25:00 – Piano Concerto No. 4
24:38 – Piano Sonata No. 0
23:24 – Nocturne, “Jāmī”
22:56 – Le jardin parfumé
22:06 – Piano Sonata No. 1
21:54 – Passeggiata veneziana sopra la Barcarola di Offenbach
21:00 – Concertino non grosso
20:38 – St. Bertrand de Comminges: “He was Laughing in the Tower”
18:39 – Quaere reliqua hujus materiei inter secretiora
18:00 – Rapsodie espagnole de Maurice Ravel: transcription de concert pour piano (first version)
17:58 – Rapsodie espagnole de Maurice Ravel: transcription de concert pour piano (second version)
17:43 – Il tessuto d’arabeschi
17:00 – Schluß-Szene aus “Salome” von Richard Strauss — Konzertmäßige Übertragung für Klavier zu zwei Händen
17:00 – Opusculum
16:32 – Fantaisie espagnole
15:27 – Passeggiata arlecchinesca sopra un frammento di Busoni
15:27 – Valse-fantaisie
14:55 – Transcription in the Light of Harpsichord Technique for the Modern Piano of the Chromatic Fantasia of J. S. Bach, Followed by a Fugue
14:50 – Trois poèmes du “Gulistān” de Saʿdī
14:10 – Prelude, Interlude, and Fugue
13:15 – Cinque sonetti di Michelagniolo Buonarroti
11:30 – Movement for Voice and Piano
10:19 – Frammenti aforistici (20)
9:34 – Two Piano Pieces
9:20 – Chaleur
8:01 – Toccatinetta sopra C.G.F.
7:43 – Trois fêtes galantes de Verlaine
7:05 – Trois poèmes
6:49 – Trois poèmes pour chant et piano
6:35 – Music to “The Rider by Night”
6:10 – L’irrémédiable
5:43 – Pastiche on the Habanera from “Carmen” by Bizet
4:59 – Quasi habanera
4:59 – Hymne à Aphrodite
4:41 – Pastiche on the “Minute Waltz” by Chopin
4:12 – Pasticcio capriccioso sopra l’op. 64 no 1 del Chopin
4:08 – Pastiche on the Hindu Merchant’s Song from “Sadko” by Rimsky-Korsakov
3:05 – Passeggiata variata sul nome del amico Clive Spencer-Bentley
3:05 – The Poplars
3:01 – Roses du soir
3:01 – Fantasiettina sul nome illustre dell’egregio poeta Christopher Grieve
3:01 – Chrysilla
2:44 – Fragment Written for Harold Rutland
2:40 – Apparition
2:37 – L’étang
2:30 – I Was Not Sorrowful — Poem for Voice and Piano [Spleen]
2:21 – Vocalise pour soprano fioriturata
2:13 – L’heure exquise
2:00 – Fragment: Prelude and Fugue on FxAxx DAxEx
1:55 – Suggested Bell-Chorale for St. Luke’s Carillon
1:48 – Fantasiettina atematica
1:40 – Transcription of the Prelude in E-flat by Bach
1:37 – Arabesque
1:20 – Frammenti aforistici (4)
1:15 – Due sutras sul nome dell’amico Alexis
1:00 – Benedizione di San Francesco d’Assisi
0:52 – Variazione maliziosa e perversa sopra “La morte d’Åse” da Grieg
0:44 – Frammento cantato
0:35 – Le mauvais jardinier
0:26 – Désir éperdu — Fragment

Some 140 hours, just in case you were planning to tot up the provided durations.

<End of quotation>

Thus "Sequentia."

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guest54
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« Reply #27 on: January 16, 2012, 10:31:23 am »

The entry at two minutes thirty seconds reads:

"I Was Not Sorrowful — Poem for Voice and Piano [Spleen]"

It might be pointed out a) that "spleen" is another word for what is sometimes called the "English vapours," and b) the poet in this case was the admirable Ernest Dowson.

His "Poetical Works" (1900) include in fact two poems bearing the title "Spleen" - one is inscribed "After Paul Verlaine" and is a kind of translation, and the other - evidently the one set by Sorabjit here - is an original work. Here it is in full:


                       SPLEEN

    I was not sorrowful, I could not weep,
    And all my memories were put to sleep.

    I watched the river grow more white and strange,
    All day till evening I watched it change.

    All day till evening I watched the rain
    Beat wearily upon the window pane.

    I was not sorrowful, but only tired
    Of everything that ever I desired.

    Her lips, her eyes, all day became to me
    The shadow of a shadow utterly.

    All day mine hunger for her heart became
    Oblivion, until the evening came,

    And left me sorrowful, inclined to weep,
    With all my memories that could not sleep.


Altogether a number of composers, both British and Continental, have set poems entitled "Spleen," penned by a number of poets.

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ahinton
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« Reply #28 on: January 16, 2012, 11:19:43 am »

The entry at two minutes thirty seconds reads:

"I Was Not Sorrowful — Poem for Voice and Piano [Spleen]"

It might be pointed out a) that "spleen" is another word for what is sometimes called the "English vapours," and b) the poet in this case was the admirable Ernest Dowson.

His "Poetical Works" (1900) include in fact two poems bearing the title "Spleen" - one is inscribed "After Paul Verlaine" and is a kind of translation, and the other - evidently the one set by Sorabjit here - is an original work. Here it is in full:


                       SPLEEN

    I was not sorrowful, I could not weep,
    And all my memories were put to sleep.

    I watched the river grow more white and strange,
    All day till evening I watched it change.

    All day till evening I watched the rain
    Beat wearily upon the window pane.

    I was not sorrowful, but only tired
    Of everything that ever I desired.

    Her lips, her eyes, all day became to me
    The shadow of a shadow utterly.

    All day mine hunger for her heart became
    Oblivion, until the evening came,

    And left me sorrowful, inclined to weep,
    With all my memories that could not sleep.


Altogether a number of composers, both British and Continental, have set poems entitled "Spleen," penned by a number of poets.
This is one of only two songs for voice and piano by Sorabji in which he sets texts in English (all the others being in French). I've yet to encounter another setting of this Dowson poem, though - have you? I've never set a poem entitled Spleen but did include a Dowson setting (A Last Word) in my Six Songs, Op. 40 back in 2000.
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guest54
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« Reply #29 on: January 16, 2012, 01:40:39 pm »

I see only a setting by John Ireland of Dowson's other Spleen, the Verlaine translation: http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/get_text.html?TextId=19931

As originally published it has gaps every two lines:

  AFTER PAUL VERLAINE - III: SPLEEN

    Around were all the roses red
    The ivy all around was black.

    Dear, so thou only move thine head,
    Shall all mine old despairs awake!

    Too blue, too tender was the sky,
    The air too soft, too green the sea.

    Always I fear, I know not why,
    Some lamentable flight from thee.

    I am so tired of holly-sprays
    And weary of the bright box-tree,

    Of all the endless country ways;
    Of everything alas! save thee.


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