Piano music

Donna Amato (piano)

Altarus Records: AIR-CD9025 (1994)

Web page for Altarus Records

Cd cover image Piano music

Duration: 67:59

Track listing

  • Track 1: Quaere Reliqua Hujus Materiei Inter Secretiora (20:22)
  • Track 2: St Bertrand de Comminges (22:54)
  • Track 3: Toccatinetta sopra C.G.F. (8:00)
  • Track 4-5: 2 sutras sul nome dell’amico Alexis (1:14)
  • Track 4: first (0:24)
  • Track 5: second (0:50)
  • Track 6: Passeggiata arlecchinesca (15:27)


  • “Donna Amato makes an eloquent case for the validity and expressive power of Sorabji’s rarified and phantasmal world … her playing … solid, pure, poised and colorful … she handles … lightning shifts of mood and sensibility … with ease and understanding … the sense of vast, hollow, infinite space that inhabits the heart of St. Bertrand de Comminges is evidence of a true keyboard original. As with other Altarus releases, the sound is exceptional, the accompanying notes worthy of a graduate thesis” (American Record Guide)
  • “Donna Amato … brings … qualities of fiery brilliance and endurance to Sorabji … much to be impressed and amazed by …” (BBC Music Magazine)
  • “Sorabji’s torrential invention … sly, teasing, tweaking humour that alludes and disappears before it explains. The structure (of Toccatinetta) is as clear as any that Sorabji wrote … like the two preceding works on this disc … accessible and easy to get to grips with … likewise infused with a tongue-in-cheek humour … an obvious choice for pianists … Amato plays as well here as I have ever heard her play anywhere … cope(s) almost nonchalantly with Sorabji’s … outrageous demands … presentation of typically meticulous generosity … a twenty-four-page booklet … with full exegeses of the music … profusely illustrated with pictures … from the original M. R. James ghost stories … recommended both for neophytes and initiates” (Fanfare)
  • “… very impressive achievement, distinguished by insightful performances of unfamiliar but … great music. Sorabji retained … deep respect for (Busoni) all his life … it shows in (Passeggiata Arlecchinesca) written nearly six decades after Busoni’s death … Amato’s playing evinces similar virtues (she has made performing editions of several Sorabji scores) … her interpretations are formed through considerable knowledge. An excellent illustrated booklet accompanies. Strongly recommended.” (Gramophone)
  • “If you are prepared to let yourself relax into a rare world … go to Altarus AIR-CD-9025 and listen to the exceptional Donna Amato playing six piano pieces by Sorabji … tremendous music-making by a unique artist inspired by a unique composer” (Musical Opinion)
  • “Written when Sorabji was 89 … (Passeggiata Arlecchinesca) is … a sharply focussed yet kaleidoscopically inventive piece, taking its material for a somewhat strenuous walk … through astonishingly varied harmonic and polyphonic surroundings: testimony to the vast experience, defiant individuality and undimmed mental vigour of its composer. Amato’s well-balanced programme … the principal works here are transcendentally virtuosic, yet by Sorabji’s standards quite short and eminently programmable within the confines of an orthodox recital … as remarkable for their onomatopœic wit and power of sulphurous suggestion as for their exuberant cartwheels across the entire range of the keyboard. Ms Amato — who herself prepared the performing editions … falls short in none of these requirements; having (courtesy of The Sorabji Archive) studied (the) editions … I can also report that her playing is extremely accurate, while the recording is of Altarus’s highest quality” (Tempo)