News from the Sorabji Archive

31 March 2015
Frazer Jarvis’s new typeset edition of the piano sonata that has come to be known as Sonata No. “0” is now available. This work is of historical importance for at least two reasons. Firstly, it is the composer’s earliest known extant work for piano solo, dating as it does from 1917. Secondly, the two 24-page folios of its ms. parted company many years ago and ended up in different hands; it was only through the independent detective work of Chris Rice and Clive Spencer-Bentley that the two were briefly reunited so that a master copy of the whole could be made and it is from this merged document that Frazer has created the new edition.
The work was recorded by Soheil Nasseri in 2006 and issued on the American Centaur label the following year (CRC2894).
28 March 2015
It is our sad duty to report that the composer and pianist Ronald Stevenson has died.
11 February 2015
The archive is delighted to announce a new typeset critical edition of Sorabji’s Piano Symphony No. 1: Tantrik. Like its predecessor — the work that we now know as Piano Symphony No. 0 from several years earlier — this symphony is dedicated to Sorabji’s friend, the Scottish composer Erik Chisholm, for whose concert series the composer gave more public performances than for anyone else. It has not yet been performed; let us hope that this new edition will encourage its première!
The inclusion of this important edition into the archive catalogue brings the total of edited/typeset Sorabji piano symphonies to four — and an edition of No.0 is already well under way; only nos. 2 and 3 remain to be edited/typeset.
Profound thanks are due to the editor, Prof. Abel Sánchez-Aguilera, for his labours in creating this remarkable addition to the ongoing series of Sorabji editions; another milestone has been reached!
16 October 2014
November 2014 is turning out to be a bumper month for Sorabji performances in America. Following on from Sequentia Cyclica in Seattle on 1 November, Jonathan Powell will be giving three performances in Colorado; the first two, in Arvada on 5 November and Boulder on 6 November, will feature Le Jardin Parfumé in a recital of works by Medtner, Grieg, Fauré, Chopin and Szymanowski and the last in Denver on 8 November will be another performance of Sequentia Cyclica. He then plays Le Jardin Parfumé in New York City on 10 November, and, finally, he will give his fifth performance of Sequentia Cyclica in Chicago on 15 November.
Kevin Bowyer will play Organ Symphony No. 1 in Helsinki on 7 November; all or part of this may be broadcast but there are no details of this yet.
12 September 2014
Following recent news of performances, including premières, of some of Sorabji’s large scale works, we now announce a première of one of his smallest. Frammento Cantato, dating from 1967, the last and shortest of the composer’s songs for voice and piano, is a setting of the eighth of ninety poems that comprise a section entitled The Cloud Messenger from Harold Morland’s privately-printed book My Seeking Spirit, Being Free Variations on Poems by Kalidasa, c. 500 A.D.; Sorabji dedicated the song to Morland.
The performance will be given by Mark Oldfield (baritone) in a recital that will also include three of Sorabji’s much earlier songs sung by Gina Fergione (mezzo-soprano); the pianist in all of these will be Christopher Scobie and the concert is curated by Brian Inglis, author of various papers on Sorabji and an M.A. thesis at City University (London) entitled The Life and Music of Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (1993).
The concert, under the title Trauma and Withdrawal, will also include songs and chamber music by Ustvolskaya and Inglis himself and is scheduled to take place on 23 November 2014 at Sutton House, Stoke Newington, London as part of the Stoke Newington Contemporary Music Festival.
19 August 2014
A Sorabjian mini-Fest is about to take place at the Poncho Concert Hall at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington, USA.
On Sunday 7 September at 7:00 p.m., Reinier van Houdt will give a recital including extracts from Piano Symphony No.4 (which he premièred in Utrecht, Netherlands in 2003).
On Tuesday 28 October at 8:00 p.m., Jonathan Powell will give the following programme:
On Friday 31 October at noon, Jonathan Powell will give a Piano Masterclass and, finally, on Saturday 1 November at 2:00 p.m., he will give his third complete performance of Sorabji’s Sequentia Cyclica super Dies Irae.
1 August 2014
Another Sorabji piano symphony edition is now complete; Alexander Abercrombie has now edited the Fourth Piano Symphony, so Sorabji’s last three piano symphonies have now all been edited and performed. This is a major milestone in Sorabji editing history and brings the total number of pages of score edited by Alexander Abercrombie to more than 2,600.
June 2014
Jonathan Powell will give the second complete performance of Sequentia Cyclica at the Musica Sacra Maastricht Festival on September 18th. Follow the link for more details.
June 2014
Since completing his typeset editions of the scores of Sorabji’s three organ symphonies last year (see news item for 15 October 2013), Kevin Bowyer has now prepared a General Preface to them which will now be included with all copies of each of them; he has also completed editorial notes for all three, which will likewise be included with them. This has been another immense task; the preface runs to 23 pages and the notes occupy 50, 130 and 121 pages respectively, so the total page count for all three symphonies is now not far short of 1,100.
To date, Kevin is the only organist ever to perform, broadcast and record the first organ symphony and to perform and broadcast the second. He proposes to première the third sometime next year; no date is yet set for this, but as soon as it is, it will be announced here (so watch this space!).
May 2014
Having prepared an edition of the score and parts for Sorabji’s earliest known orchestral work Chaleur, Frazer Jarvis has now done the same for the composer’s other early and (relatively) short orchestral piece Opusculum; this is the first of two works that Sorabji dedicated to his then new friend the English composer John Ireland. We have pleasure in welcoming this new addition to the catalogue of Sorabji editions.
May 2014
Marc-André Roberge has revised his edition of Trois Pastiches and this revision now takes the place of his earlier version. We are delighted to offer this refined version of what was already a comprehensively annotated and researched edition of the kind to which we have become accustomed from Prof. Roberge; this now takes its place among the ever growing corpus of new editions of Sorabji’s music.
March 2014
Following on closely from his recently completed edition of Le Jardin Parfumé is Jonathan Powell’s typeset edition of St Bertrand de Comminges (He was Laughing in the Tower); Jonathan recorded this work, along with two other Sorabji pieces, in 2007 on Altarus AIR-CD-9082; this is the third new Sorabji edition to be released this month (March 2014).
March 2014
The remarkable outcome of years of dedicated hard work, Alberto Vignani’s new edition of the full score of Sorabji’s Symphonic Variations in the version for piano and orchestra has now been completed. This 519 page score represents the realisation of one of the most ambitious Sorabji editing projects to date, along with the three organ symphonies (Kevin Bowyer), 100 Transcendental Studies (Alexander Abercrombie and others), Second Piano Quintet (Alexander Abercrombie) and the even larger Symphony No.2 “Jami” (David Carter) which has so far reached completed first draft stage. This phenomenal achievement has demanded the utmost patience and diligence; it stands as yet another testament to the labours of love that Sorabji’s music continues to inspire in his score editors.
Whilst the ultimate goal of The Complete Sorabji Edition remains quite some way off, the addition of this score to the catalogue is another major milestone on the path to it.
March 2014
A new typeset edition of Le Jardin Parfumé has just been completed by Jonathan Powell; he will use this for his forthcoming recording of this seminal work from Sorabji’s early years. Jonathan has used as source material a copy of the manuscript, as well as a copy of the publication annotated – albeit sparsely! – by the composer.
October/November 2013
Jonathan Powell gives the première of the Piano Symphony no.6, Symphonia Claviensis. The concert takes place at 12.30pm on October 27th 2013, at De Toonzaal, s'Hertogenbosch, Netherlands. Another performance follows on November 2nd 2013 at the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, Oxford, with a talk at 2.30pm (see the forum for more details).
15 October 2013
Completion by Kevin Bowyer of his typeset editions of all three Sorabji Organ Symphonies.
First hatched in 1986 by the then editor of The Organ magazine, Douglas Carrington (1926-2012), The Sorabji Organ Project launched with a plan to première Organ Symphony no.1 as part of the 1987 International Congress of Organists; this performance was given in London in 1987 by Kevin Bowyer playing the outer movements and Thomas Trotter the middle one. In 1988, the year of Sorabji’s death, Kevin made a corrected version of the publication of that symphony and used it to record the entire work that year; he also gave the work its first performance by a single organist later in 1988 in Denmark; the composer was overjoyed and suitably astonished when he heard it. The recording, made in Bristol, was released within a month of Sorabji’s death and, in the interim, the middle movement was played from its master-tape at his memorial service.
Kevin had met Sorabji in January 1988 and at that time began to prepare his handwritten edition of Organ Symphony no.2; at the time of Sorabji’s death in October 1988, he had, curiously got to the same point in that edition as Sorabji had got in writing the work in 1929 when he put it to one side for a time to write Opus Clavicembalisticum and other works. Kevin completed this 396-page edition in 1991 on what would have been Sorabji’s 99th birthday.
By this time, Kevin had resolved to try to perform all three Sorabji organ symphonies and, having established himself as Glasgow University organist, The Sorabji Organ Project proper began to take shape, its aim being the preparation of typeset editions and the public performance, recording and broadcast of these works.
Organ Symphony no.2 proved to be the toughest challenge of Kevin’s life to date; plans to give the entire work in performance were abandoned more than once as a consequence. The world première scheduled for 2008 was of the first movement only and that planned for 2009 was of the third movement only; the first performance of the symphony in its entirety was given in 2010.
On the day of the 25th anniversary of Sorabji’s death, Kevin finally completed his typeset editions of these three seminal organ works and the project is destined to complete next year with the première of Organ Symphony no.3 on a date yet to be announced.
14 August 2013
Ronald Stevenson’s description of Opus Clavicembalisticum as a vast compendium of complex counterpoint relieved only by transcendental virtuosity came to mind when announcing with immense pleasure that, after many years of gestation relieved only by copious and diligent research, fastidiousness of approach, unremitting hard work and saintly patience, Marc-André Roberge’s long awaited and eagerly anticipated volume on the life and work of Sorabji, Opus sorabjianum, finally saw the light on 14 August 2013, the composer’s 121st anniversary; it would be hard to imagine a finer and more fitting birthday present!
Marc-André Roberge has most generously made this work available on the internet for free download; further details and a link to the text itself will be found at
The author is, of course, one of the contributors to Sorabji: A Critical Celebration, so his Sorabjian pedigree is a long one indeed; his work on the composer has, however, embraced not only musicological research but also the preparation of no less than 27 typeset critical editions of his scores.
Paul Rapoport’s symposium Sorabji: A Critical Celebration, also long in the making, first appeared almost 21 years ago and, between then and now, the world of Sorabji research has been graced by a number of distinguished authors, most notably in the valuable work of Simon Abrahams and Sean Vaughn Owen. Opus sorabjianum represents a major milestone in this field and The Sorabji Archive is delighted heartily to congratulate its author and to commend it warmly and unreservedly to anyone and everyone interested in the composer.
July 2012
The Sorabji Archive is delighted to announce that Jonathan Powell’s new typeset edition of Gulistān is now available. Composed in 1940, this exceptionally fine example of Sorabji in “tropical nocturne” mode has already been recorded three times — by Charles Hopkins, Michael Habermann and, most recently, Jonathan Powell himself; at the time of its completion, Sorabji regarded it as one of his best piano works and, in conversation almost half a century later when aged almost 96 and with his creative career over, he still felt the same about it. The influences of Debussy, Scriabin and, most especially, Szymanowski, are well in evidence, yet no one but Sorabji could have written this work and the composer’s own assessment of it as one of the peaks of his creative achievement would be hard to deny.
July 2012
The Sorabji Archive is delighted to announce the completion of a new typeset edition of Piano Symphony No. 6 (Symphonia Claviensis). Completed when Sorabji was aged 84, this is the last of his symphonies for piano solo and his final work of the order of magnitude of Opus Clavicembalisticum. We hope to have news to announce about the work’s world première and other performances before too long; watch this space!
April 2011
Donna Amato’s new recording of Sorabji’s Symphonia Brevis (Piano Symphony no.5) is issued by Altarus. It is issued on a 2CD set.
11 August 2010
Marc-André Roberge announces his new Sorabji Resource Site, full of valuable information regarding Sorabji’s life, compositions, and much else.
18 June 2010
Jonathan Powell gives the first complete performance of Sequentia Cyclica in Glasgow University Concert Hall, starting at 2.30pm.
6 June 2010
Kevin Bowyer gives the first complete performance of Organ Symphony no.2 in Glasgow University Memorial Chapel, starting at 1.00pm. There will be a subsequent complete performance in Amsterdam (see the list below, and the forum for more details).
26 September 2008
It is our sad duty to report that the pianist and Sorabji pioneer Yonty Solomon has died. His Sorabji performances included world premières of the Toccata, Piano Sonata no.3, Gulistan, St Bertrand de Comminges, Concerto per suonare da me solo and Rosario d’Arabeschi, as well as the first broadcast performances of the Trois poèmes pour chant et piano and Trois fêtes galantes de Verlaine with Jane Manning.
His contribution was also marked by a beautiful recording of Le Jardin Parfumé.
Announcement from the Royal College of Music
22 April 2008
Kevin Bowyer announces details of The Sorabji Organ Project, a vast 5-year project to produce new critical typeset editions of Sorabji’s three mammoth organ symphonies, to give performances of each, along with commercial recordings of them. The project is funded by The Glasgow University Trust. More details can be found at the link above, and at Kevin Bowyer’s webpage.
26 November 2007
Sean Vaughn Owen announces the completion of his PhD thesis on Sorabji’s life, with substantial genealogical findings that alter previously accepted biographical details.
21 July 2007
It is our sad duty to report that the pianist, scholar and translator Charles Hopkins died on 21 July.
Read a tribute to Charles Hopkins by Alistair Hinton.

New editions available from the Archive

Recent Sorabji editions
Marc-André Roberge has completed editions of Benedizione di San Francesco d’Assisi and Passeggiata Variata.
Lukas Huisman has completed editions of Fragment (Prelude and Fugue) and 4 Frammenti Aforistici.
Frazer Jarvis has completed editions of Sonata 0 Chaleur, Opusculum, Toccatinetta sopra C.G.F., Quaere Reliqua Hujus Materiei Inter Secretiora and 2 Sutras.
Florian Steininger has completed his edition of 20 Frammenti Aforistici.
Alberto Vignani has completed his edition of Symphonic Variations in the version for piano and orchestra.
Kevin Bowyer has completed his editions of Organ Symphony no.1, Organ Symphony no.2 and Organ Symphony no.3.
Jonathan Powell has completed his editions of Gulistan, Le Jardin Parfumé and St Bertrand de Comminges.
Jonathan Powell and Alex Abercrombie have completed their edition of Piano Symphony No.6 Symphonia Claviensis.
Alexander Abercrombie has completed his edition of the Fourth Piano Symphony.
Abel Sánchez-Aguilera has completed an edition of the First Piano Symphony.
Hinton editions
Editions prepared by Simon Abrahams of Alistair Hinton’s Piano Sonata No.3, Op.15 and Piano Sonata No.4 (Ballade), Op.18 are now available.
Editions prepared by Frazer Jarvis of Alistair Hinton’s Sonatina for Oboe, Op.4 and Fantasiettina for String Trio, Op.48 are now available.

Forthcoming performances of Sorabji’s music

Please e-mail the webmaster if you would like to add a concert or broadcast to this list.