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Sorabji - 100 Transcendental Studies for piano, Nos 26-43

Composer Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji
Performer Fredrik Ullén
Period Romantic
Catalogue Number BIS-1533 CD
EAN 7318590015339
Format CD
Release date Jul 2009
Total time 76'18

When Fredrik Ullén released the first instalment of Sorabji’s 100 Transcendental Etudes the excitement among reviewers was almost palpable. To take on this huge, near-mythic collection of super-virtuoso pieces in its entirety was described as ‘entering a snake pit’ as well as ‘a labour of love’. And the high expectations were met: in the words of the reviewer for American Record Guide, the disc gave ‘a taste of the incredible variety of music Sorabji can conjure up from the piano. It is to Ullén's credit that he can present each study on its own terms; whether in muted impressionist tones, sharp pointillistic flurries, or sheer demonic virtuosity.’ Sorabji composed the set of 100 Transcendental Studies, his second longest work with a total duration of at least seven hours, between 1940 and 1944. Most of the pieces are typical concert études in the sense that essentially a single technical or structural idea is explored. But as the cycle unfolds Sorabji inserts pieces that are on a much larger scale, culminating with the two last études, a hugely expanded elaboration of Bach’s Chromatic Fantasia and a quintuple fugue with a duration of some 45 minutes each. This development begins already at the start of the present disc. As Ullén remarks in his own liner notes, with Study No. 26 (Dolcissimo) ‘we enter a different world. The first longer piece in the cycle is more of a fantasia or nocturne than an étude: a delicate piece of night music, with allusions to Debussy’. The programme then takes in such varied pieces as the playful No. 29 (A capriccio), the mysterious and eerie study in major sevenths, No. 30 (Con fantasia) and No. 36 (Mano sinistra sempre sola) – a grand étude for the left hand alone, which includes a fugue that, in Ullén’s own words, ’in places borders on the physically impossible.’
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  Kaikhosru Sorabji
  100 Transcendental Studies, Nos 26-43 73'49
01 26. Dolcissimo 9'56
02 27. Staccato e leggiero a capriccio 2'57
03 28. Leggiero e volante 2'15
04 29. A capriccio 2'09
05 30. Con fantasia 4'36
06 31. Vivace assai 2'14
07 32. Legato possibile: quasi dolce 3'12
08 33. Vivace e brioso 4'42
09 34. Soave e dolce 4'11
10 35. (untitled) 2'17
11 36. Mano sinistra sempre sola 7'16
12 37. Riflessioni 3'54
13 38. Con fantasia 4'53
14 39. (untitled) 3'34
15 40. Moderato 3'09
16 41. (untitled) 3'40
17 42. Impetuoso e con fuoco ed energia 4'15
18 43. (untitled) 4'39
  Album total 76'18
PianoUllén, Fredrik
ComposerSorabji, Kaikhosru

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