Opus Est — Six composers from Northern Europe

By Paul Rapoport

Cover of Paul Rapoport’s book “Opus Est — Six composers from Northern Europe”

This treatise focuses on the routes by which several composers, Matthijs Vermeulen, Vagn Holmboe, Havergal Brian, Allan Pettersson, Fartein Valen and Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, avoided becoming well-known. It discusses how composers become renowned, and suggests that renown need not be a good indication of quality, citing works by the these six composers as examples.

This book marked the first treatment in a book chapter of Sorabji’s life and works. After a discussion of Sorabji’s life, Rapoport discusses how Sorabji’s rather reclusive nature, and self-imposed “ban” on performances of his music, coupled with its difficulty, led to his output falling outside the standard repertoire. Rapoport then goes on to analyse Opus Clavicembalisticum.

Dr. Paul Rapoport is Professor Emeritus of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Published (200 pages, hardback) in the UK in 1978 by Kahn and Averill (ISBN 0 90070748 8), and in the USA by Taplinger Pub. Co., 1979 (ISBN 0 80085844 1).