KAIKHOSRU SHAPURJI SORABJI (1892-1988): 100 Transcendental Studies - Nos. 26-43.
Catalogue Number: 08L073
Description: Volume 2 of this much-anticipated continuation of Sorabji's mammoth set of studies takes us almost half way in terms of number, if not in playing time (perhaps a third or thereabouts). The reason for this is encapsulated in the first entry on this new disc; with No. 26 the composer appears for the first time to take a decisive step back from writing pieces with some ostensibly pedagogical intent - "studies" per se - and interjects a larger, more musically intricate piece; in this case a ravishing nocturne (a favorite genre of the composer's) with somewhat in common with Djâmî for instance, the piece's repeated chordal figuration a trademark of Sorabji's highly ornamented entanglements of decoration, bathing languidly progressing melodies in an atmosphere of stifling tropical heat. The composer seems to have thought highly of this study too, as it was among the handful that he chose to record privately for his friend Frank Holliday. But the concept of 'études' is by no means abandoned of course; Sorabji follows this sensuous interlude with formidable studies in sevenths, octaves, thirds and sixths, grace-notes, contrary motion, various chords and scales, and a fiendish left-hand study which ends with a fairly thoroughly worked fugue complete with the characteristic Sorabji coda-stretta and final explosive flourish. As the nature of the pieces becomes more varied it is truly fascinating to witness Sorabji encapsulating familiar elements of his unique compositional vocabulary in miniature (or not-so-miniature; among many delights we still have the grandly splendid waltz (No. 63), the passacaglia (No. 75, with, of course, 100 variations) and the extravagantly virtuosic prelude (No. 99) and five-subject fugue (No. 100) to look forward to). Frederik Ullén (piano).