Passeggiata Veneziana and Villa Tasca

Jonathan Powell (piano)

Altarus Records: AIR-CD-9067 (2002)

Web page for Altarus Records

Cd cover image Passeggiata Veneziana and Villa Tasca

Duration: 76:54

Track listing

  • Track 1: Passeggiata Veneziana (22:29)
  • Track 2: Villa Tasca (54:25)


  • “The more we learn about this unique composer, through the emergence of new editions of the music, new performers and new recordings, the more extraordinarily multi-faceted and brilliant his creative personality turns out to be. Exploring Sorabji’s art and craft is like wandering the passages and shafts of a gem mine; every newly illuminated face glows with previously unguessed-at riches. This disc is a fine example of this; in his excellent and comprehensive booklet essay the performer alludes to the misconception of Sorabji as predominantly ‘the dour composer of hour-long fugues’, and we know about his suffocatingly beautiful ‘tropical nocturne’ genre — but here are two extended examples of his love of Italianate warmth and the intense illumination of the Mediterranean sun. Villa Tasca is an large-scale evocation of the Sicilian mezzogiorno, the haunting quasi-tropical languor of this unique time and place and the volcanic passions so incompletely suppressed in nature as in man. Passeggiata is a wildly imaginative fantasia on the Barcarolle from the Tales of Hoffmann — hardly the stuff of dour fugues — incorporating a gorgeous nocturne, a headlong tarantella (just try not to smile at some of the acrobatics Sorabji expects of his dancing revellers!), and the now-familiar complete mastery of and exultation in the expressive possibilities of the piano, far exceeding the efforts of the ‘complexicists’ who followed him, while achieving a sense of organic ‘rightness’ in the handling of the instrument that recalls Chopin, Busoni and Rachmaninov rather than the mechanical complexities which have become fashionable since. A major release.” (Records International)
  • “… The first — indeed, the only — record company to go out to bat for Sorabji in a big way was Altarus, whose catalogue now has a healthy representation of his works. Sorabji’s most recent champion … Jonathan Powell … is coming close to eclipsing the efforts of his predecessors … Powell’s involvement with the music is enough to have taken him to view the Villa Tasca itself — his colour photographs enliven the booklet, where he also supplies the notes — although his dedication was already evident from these barnstorming performances.” (Tempo)