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Jonathan Powell - Sorabji: Sequentia Cyclica

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Sorabji: Sequentia Cyclica

Jonathan Powell

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Khaikosru Sorabji (1892-1988) is one of the most enigmatic and controversial 20th century composers. Largely self-taught he chose his own way, never fitting into any school or movement. His style is highly idiosyncratic, inspired by late-romantics like Busoni and Szymanowski.

Characteristic for his piano music are the enormous proportions and textural density of his works, some of them lasting several hours in performance, taxing the performer and audience to the utmost. This new set presents the first recording of the Sequentia Cyclica Super Dies Irae, a massive work on the basis of the famous "Dies Irae" plainchant from the "Requiem" mass. It presents 27 variations, varying in length between a few minutes and more than one hour, in total over 8,5 hours long. It was written in 1948/49 and Sorabji regarded the work as “the climax and crown of his works for the piano and, in all probability, the last he will write”. It is impossible to describe the work in a few sentences, like all Sorabji’s works is has to be experienced in whole in order to come to terms with its vast implications and scope.

As Jonathan Powell explains in an invaluable booklet essay, the present recording is the result of many years’ acquaintance with and preparation of this music. He is uniquely equipped to undertake the mammoth task of learning one of Sorabji’s most ambitious scores, having already given several public performances of the five-hour Opus clavicembalisticum which is, by comparison, almost a repertoire work, at least for dedicated followers of this most eccentric, quixotic, withdrawn and yet visionary of 20th-century composers.

Then in 2011 Powell first performed the Sequentia Cyclica, having been studying the music since 2002, and since then has given another four and a half public performances. Sorabji attempted to restrict performances of his music, by and large successfully, to only performers ‘with the sheer grit, determination and staying power,’ such ‘rare birds’ that they may be relied upon ‘to deduce, from internal evidence, what sort of treatment the music calls for,’ and in Jonathan Powell the composer has a worthy advocate and successor to the likes of Yonty Solomon and John Ogdon.

And to Egon Petri, dedicatee of Sequentia Cyclica, once Sorabji had completed the score in 1949. Petri was the foremost living disciple of Ferruccio Busoni – another composer who provoked perplexity and extravagant praise during his lifetime – and from the opening outline of the Dies Irae chant, it becomes clear that the cycle will evolve according to the principles of Sorabji’s particular, Busoni-derived, Liszt-originated formula of intricate counterpoint and lush harmonies. As ever, Sorabji does not pretend to make the performer’s life easy, writing across six staves at some points, and leaving much of the expression to be intuited by the pianist. He regarded it, however, as ‘the climax and crown of his work for the piano.’ Its first recording, therefore, is a landmark achievement, which will be welcomed and sought after by pianophiles the world over. © Piano Classics

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Sorabji: Sequentia Cyclica

Jonathan Powell

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1
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: Theme
00:04:29

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

2
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: I. Vivace
00:07:59

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

3
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: II. Moderato
00:08:01

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

4
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: III. Legato, soave e liscio
00:08:30

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

5
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: IV. Tranquillo e Piano, Pt. 1
00:50:27

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

6
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: IV. Tranquillo e Piano, Pt. 2
00:14:17

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

7
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: V. Ardito, focosamente
00:08:23

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

8
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: VI. Vivace e leggiero
00:03:29

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

9
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: VII. L'istesso tempo
00:02:56

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

10
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: VIII. Tempo di valzer con molta fantasia, disinvoltura e eleganza
00:20:54

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

11
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: IX. Capriccioso
00:11:26

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

12
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: X. Il tutto in una sonorità piena, dolce, morbida, calda e voluttuosa
00:33:13

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

13
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: XI. Vivace e secco
00:02:19

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

14
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: XII. Leggiero a capriccio
00:07:15

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

15
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: XIII. Aria. Con fantasia e dolcezza
00:22:16

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

16
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: XIV. Punta d'organo
00:26:48

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

17
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: XV. Hispanica
00:13:08

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

18
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: XVI. Marcia funebre
00:04:34

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

19
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: XVII. Soave e dolce
00:03:24

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

20
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: XVIII. Duro, irato, energico
00:10:26

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

21
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: XIX. Quasi Debussy
00:07:28

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

22
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: XX. Spiccato, leggiero
00:03:42

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

23
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: XXI. Legatissimo, dolce e soave
00:08:49

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

24
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: XXII Passacaglia with 100 Variations. Variations 1-11
00:09:43

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

25
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: Variations 12-24
00:10:57

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

26
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: Variations 25-36
00:11:09

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

27
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: Variations 37-49
00:12:08

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

28
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: Variations 50-59
00:09:57

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

29
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: Variations 60-65
00:06:00

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

30
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: Variations 66-75
00:09:49

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

31
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: XXII. Passacagliawith 100 Variations (cont.). Variations 76-89
00:14:57

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

32
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: Variations 90-100
00:12:44

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

33
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: XXIII. Con brio
00:12:20

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

34
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: XXIV. Oscuro, sordo
00:10:46

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

35
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: XXV. Sotto voce, scorrevole
00:02:15

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

36
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: XXVI. Largamente pomposo e maestoso
00:16:23

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

37
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: XXVII. Fuga quintuplice a due, tre, quattro, cinque e sei voci ed a cinque soggetti. Fuga prima a due voci
00:13:43

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

38
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: Fuga seconda a tre voci
00:06:23

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

39
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: Fuga terza a quattro voci
00:09:52

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

40
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: Fuga quarta a cinque voci
00:08:52

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

41
Sequentia cyclica, super dies iræ, KSS 71: Fuga quinta a sei voci, stretto e coda
00:41:04

Jonathan Powell, Piano, MainArtist - Brilliant Classics, MusicPublisher - Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Composer

2020 Brilliant Classics 2020 Brilliant Classics

Albumbeschreibung

Khaikosru Sorabji (1892-1988) is one of the most enigmatic and controversial 20th century composers. Largely self-taught he chose his own way, never fitting into any school or movement. His style is highly idiosyncratic, inspired by late-romantics like Busoni and Szymanowski.

Characteristic for his piano music are the enormous proportions and textural density of his works, some of them lasting several hours in performance, taxing the performer and audience to the utmost. This new set presents the first recording of the Sequentia Cyclica Super Dies Irae, a massive work on the basis of the famous "Dies Irae" plainchant from the "Requiem" mass. It presents 27 variations, varying in length between a few minutes and more than one hour, in total over 8,5 hours long. It was written in 1948/49 and Sorabji regarded the work as “the climax and crown of his works for the piano and, in all probability, the last he will write”. It is impossible to describe the work in a few sentences, like all Sorabji’s works is has to be experienced in whole in order to come to terms with its vast implications and scope.

As Jonathan Powell explains in an invaluable booklet essay, the present recording is the result of many years’ acquaintance with and preparation of this music. He is uniquely equipped to undertake the mammoth task of learning one of Sorabji’s most ambitious scores, having already given several public performances of the five-hour Opus clavicembalisticum which is, by comparison, almost a repertoire work, at least for dedicated followers of this most eccentric, quixotic, withdrawn and yet visionary of 20th-century composers.

Then in 2011 Powell first performed the Sequentia Cyclica, having been studying the music since 2002, and since then has given another four and a half public performances. Sorabji attempted to restrict performances of his music, by and large successfully, to only performers ‘with the sheer grit, determination and staying power,’ such ‘rare birds’ that they may be relied upon ‘to deduce, from internal evidence, what sort of treatment the music calls for,’ and in Jonathan Powell the composer has a worthy advocate and successor to the likes of Yonty Solomon and John Ogdon.

And to Egon Petri, dedicatee of Sequentia Cyclica, once Sorabji had completed the score in 1949. Petri was the foremost living disciple of Ferruccio Busoni – another composer who provoked perplexity and extravagant praise during his lifetime – and from the opening outline of the Dies Irae chant, it becomes clear that the cycle will evolve according to the principles of Sorabji’s particular, Busoni-derived, Liszt-originated formula of intricate counterpoint and lush harmonies. As ever, Sorabji does not pretend to make the performer’s life easy, writing across six staves at some points, and leaving much of the expression to be intuited by the pianist. He regarded it, however, as ‘the climax and crown of his work for the piano.’ Its first recording, therefore, is a landmark achievement, which will be welcomed and sought after by pianophiles the world over. © Piano Classics

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