KSS77 Passeggiata Veneziana

Piece details

  • Written for: Piano
  • Date composed: 1955–56
  • Dedicatee: York Bowen
  • Approximate duration (minutes): 20
  • Manuscript pages: 24
  • Manuscript location: Paul Sacher Foundation, Basel
  • Comments: Sorabji started writing the Passeggiata veneziana in 1955 and finished the work during the following year. Subtitled ‘sopra la Barcarola di Offenbach’, the work embellishes material from that most famous episode of Les contes de Hoffman with a fantastic mélange of arabesques and contrapuntal ingenuities. It is cast in five continuous movements: Barcarola, Tarantella, Notturnino, Cadenzetta and Ripresa. The work bears the quotation “Consider your neighbour. What an imbecile he is!”, from Norman Douglas’ novel Alone (source work not mentioned by Sorabji here, although an extended version of the same quotation was earlier used by him as an ‘entête’ to his collection of essays Mi contra fa: The Immoralisings of a Machiavellian Musician (London, 1947)). Passeggiata veneziana is dedicated ‘to Mr York Bowen, a trifling tribute of respect and admiration’. Sorabji had listened to York Bowen perform his own 24 Preludes (which were dedicated to Sorabji). Sorabji later wrote of the “freedom, such flexibility and elasticity, such delicate and richly resourceful harmonic piquancy and colour” of Bowen’s work (op. cit., 237 et passim). (notes: Jonathan Powell)

Editions available from the Sorabji Archive

  • Typeset edition (Jonathan Powell), A3L. 24 pages.
    Price: £15 (paper), £10 (pdf)
    Right-click to download high resolution sample page: PDF PNG
  • Manuscript, A3L. 24 pages.
    Price: £15 (paper), £10 (pdf)
    Right-click to download high resolution sample page: PDF PNG


  • Jonathan Powell (piano),
    Altarus Records AIR-CD-9067 (2002)
    Track 1 (22:29)
  • Michael Habermann (piano),
    BIS Records BIS-CD-1306 (2003)
    Track 5-10 (21:33)


  • 29/03/1980 Michael Habermann (piano)
    Modlin Fine Arts Building, University of Richmond, Richmond VA, USA
  • 01/03/2001 Jonathan Powell (piano)
    British Music Information Centre, London, UK
  • 27/01/2002 Jonathan Powell (piano)
    Kettle’s Yard, Bridge Street, Cambridge, UK
  • 10/01/2003 Jonathan Powell (piano)
    Johanneskirkko seurakuntasali, Helsinki, Finland
  • 28/01/2003 Jonathan Powell (piano)
    St. Cyprian’s Church, London, UK
  • 01/02/2003 Jonathan Powell (piano)
    Muziekcentrum Vredenburg, Utrecht, Netherlands
    “Rondom Kaikhosru Sorabji”
  • 16/07/2004 Jonathan Powell (piano)
    Spazia Energia, Reggello, Italy
    Reggello Festival
  • 25/08/2004 Jonathan Powell (piano)
    Rittersaal/Konzertsaal, Schloß vor Husum, Husum, Germany
    Raritäten der Klaviermusik

Broadcasts etc.

  • 08/12/1969 Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (piano) [extract]
    WBAI (radio), New York NY, USA [broadcast of recording]
    “The Composer Sorabji” (Erik Chisholm): illustrated talk read by Frank Holliday
  • 13/12/1970 Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (piano) [extract]
    WNCN (radio), New York NY, USA [broadcast of recording]
  • 12/12/1971 Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (piano) [extract]
    WNCN (radio), New York NY, USA [repeat broadcast of recording]
  • 10/12/1972 Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (piano) [extract]
    WNCN (radio), New York NY, USA [repeat broadcast of recording]
  • 08/11/1973 Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (piano) [extract]
    KPFA (radio), Berkeley CA, USA [repeat broadcast of recording]
  • 19/02/1975 Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (piano) [extract]
    WMUK (radio), Kalamazoo MI, USA [repeat broadcast of recording]
  • 19/06/1976 Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (piano) [extract]
    Minnesota Public Radio (broadcast over KSJR/KSJN/KCCM/WSCD/KRSW/KLSE), Collegeville MN, USA [repeat broadcast of recording]
  • 14/02/2003 Jonathan Powell (piano)
    NPS (Nederlandse Programma Stichting), Hilversum, Netherlands [broadcast]
    “NPS in de Middag” (broadcast of part of concert given on 01/02/2003)