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Toccata from the finale of Sorabji's Organ Symphony No. 2

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    Toccata from the finale of Sorabji's Organ Symphony No. 2

    Here is a recent performance by a 19 year old organist of a most fearsomely difficult section from this massive symphony whose clarity, accuracy and breathtaking virtuosity has to be heard to be believed - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtYztW1e8aQ ; reactions warmly welcomed!

    #2
    While I find the performance technically impressive, the music does not move me at all. I put in the Messiaen camp, as far as personal taste goes. I guess I will remain a romantic to the end and I am OK with that.

    What I did find fascinating was the biography of the composer, found on Wikipedia.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaikho...apurji_Sorabji
    Larry is my name; Allen is an organ brand name.

    Main: Allen RMWTHEA.3 with Rocky Mount Electra-Piano, Allen 423-C + Gyro cabinet, Britson Opus OEM38, Saville Series IV Opus 209, Steinway AR Duo-Art, Mills Violano Virtuoso with MIDI
    Lower Level: Hammond 9812H with roll player, Gulbransen Rialto, Roland E-200, Vintage Moog
    Shop: Mason&Hamlin AR Ampico piano, Allen ADC-5300-D with 18 speakers and MIDI, 4 Allen theater organ tone cabinets (including 3 Gyros, but don't call me Gyro Gearloose!).

    Comment


    • AllenAnalog
      AllenAnalog commented
      Editing a comment
      Had I bothered to look up your prior posts before writing my post I would have realized that you are indeed the man behind the Sorabji Archive. I applaud your devotion to maintaining that tribute to the composer. Too many composers have faded into obscurity after their death (and sometimes before) when there is no one to take up the cause to preserve a body of work and encourage performances of those works.

      http://www.sorabji-archive.co.uk/

    #3
    Originally posted by ahinton View Post
    reactions warmly welcomed!
    I'm with Allen. The organist obviously shows technical skill, but the piece is a bit random for my taste. I readily confess, I skipped through the video, attempting to find something that resembled a tonal composition or pleasant listening, but it reminded me of the tonal experimentation of various 20thc. composers.

    I'm also with Allen on his assessment of the article, to which he linked. Would you be Alistair? If so, you have much we could learn about this composer from you. Were I a composer, I would probably exhibit some of the privacy proclivities of Mr. Sorabji.

    Nevertheless, thank you for sharing the video of a composer new to us.

    Michael
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

    Comment


      #4
      This is my first hearing of music composed by this composer. Another 20th Century composer I will mentally scratch off my list of "lets see what this music sounds like". This is academic stuff that should never leave the innermost recital halls of music conservatories. Unfortunately, it has, and over the last 50 years, performing this kind of music before the public, has driven away many audiences and admirers of the organ.

      Comment


        #5
        Originally posted by myorgan View Post
        I'm with Allen. The organist obviously shows technical skill, but the piece is a bit random for my taste. I readily confess, I skipped through the video, attempting to find something that resembled a tonal composition or pleasant listening, but it reminded me of the tonal experimentation of various 20thc. composers.

        I'm also with Allen on his assessment of the article, to which he linked. Would you be Alistair? If so, you have much we could learn about this composer from you. Were I a composer, I would probably exhibit some of the privacy proclivities of Mr. Sorabji.

        Nevertheless, thank you for sharing the video of a composer new to us.

        Michael
        I would indeed be Alistair! The music might not be to everyone's taste but there can be no doubting Sorabji's contribution to the organ literature, even though it comprises just three symphonies for the instrument, of which the first received its première in 1987 (shared between Kevin Bowyer and Thomas Trotter) and was recorded by Kevin Bowyer the following year, just before the composer's death, the second was premièred by Kevin Bowyer in 2010 and the third has yet to be performed. Kevin Bowyer has prepared excellent critical editions of all three which are available as paper copies or .pdf files from The Sorabji Archive (see the website to which Allen linked - email sorabji.archive@gmail.com ). All three of these symphonies are cast in three movements, the first playing for a little under 2 hours, the second for around 8½ hours and the third probably around the same as the second.

        Comment


          #6
          Originally posted by Jay999 View Post
          This is my first hearing of music composed by this composer. Another 20th Century composer I will mentally scratch off my list of "lets see what this music sounds like". This is academic stuff that should never leave the innermost recital halls of music conservatories. Unfortunately, it has, and over the last 50 years, performing this kind of music before the public, has driven away many audiences and admirers of the organ.
          Do you have hard evidence for such audience discouragement? Not all such "innermost recital halls of music conservatories" have instruments that would handle this music properly in any case!

          Clearly, the audience in Hamburg were not discouraged last year when Kevin Bowyer was to play Sorabji's Second Organ Symphony in its prestigious Elbphilharmonie, since all of its c.2,000 seats were sold for the performance at least six months before it was due to take place! Sadly, it had to be cancelled as Kevin Bowyer was indisposed but he will play in there this coming September.

          Comment


            #7
            Originally posted by AllenAnalog View Post
            While I find the performance technically impressive, the music does not move me at all. I put in the Messiaen camp, as far as personal taste goes. I guess I will remain a romantic to the end and I am OK with that.

            What I did find fascinating was the biography of the composer, found on Wikipedia.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaikho...apurji_Sorabji
            A Romantic? Well, Sorabji is for you, then! Sorabji was a great admirer of the organ music of Reger, Vierne, Widor, Liszt and others, as well as an ardent champion of J. S. Bach, as is Kevin Bowyer who has recorded all of his organ music.

            Comment


              #8
              I found the following (http://5against4.com), after Kevin Bowyer's performance of part of the 2nd Symphony:

              Size, however, cannot be ignored in Sorabji’s case, as became explicitly clear at last week’s concert. Given by über-organist Kevin Bowyer, the concert was originally intended to be the first performance of the complete Second Organ Symphony. With an estimated total duration of around six to seven hours, this was an extremely ambitious aim, one that, when the time came, proved to be a stretch too far for Bowyer, who opted to play just the final movement. The word ‘just’ is a bit unfair, though; as I said, the Finale has a duration of a little over three hours, so the extent of Bowyer’s task was only partly diminished. Precisely how ambitious the task had been became vividly clear in Bowyer’s programme note. At considerable length, it details his attempts to learn the piece, likening the experience to St George grappling with the dragon. Bowyer speaks of whole-day practice sessions, with startling side-effects: “depression and hallucination are among them – a perception of non existent people standing nearby and behind. Towards the end of the session I often felt the room dissolve to be replaced with the sense of being in another space, another room of completely different size and form – a kind of hallucinating dizziness…”. His palpable disappointment at not yet being in a position to perform the complete work was perhaps best summed up in his description of the concert as a “work-in-progress play through”, but this proved to be mere self-deprecation, as Bowyer’s subsequent performance demonstrated superlative skill and profoundly deep understanding and empathy with Sorabji’s material.

              Comment


                #9
                Originally posted by Peterboroughdiapason View Post
                I found the following (http://5against4.com), after Kevin Bowyer's performance of part of the 2nd Symphony:

                Size, however, cannot be ignored in Sorabji’s case, as became explicitly clear at last week’s concert. Given by über-organist Kevin Bowyer, the concert was originally intended to be the first performance of the complete Second Organ Symphony. With an estimated total duration of around six to seven hours, this was an extremely ambitious aim, one that, when the time came, proved to be a stretch too far for Bowyer, who opted to play just the final movement. The word ‘just’ is a bit unfair, though; as I said, the Finale has a duration of a little over three hours, so the extent of Bowyer’s task was only partly diminished. Precisely how ambitious the task had been became vividly clear in Bowyer’s programme note. At considerable length, it details his attempts to learn the piece, likening the experience to St George grappling with the dragon. Bowyer speaks of whole-day practice sessions, with startling side-effects: “depression and hallucination are among them – a perception of non existent people standing nearby and behind. Towards the end of the session I often felt the room dissolve to be replaced with the sense of being in another space, another room of completely different size and form – a kind of hallucinating dizziness…”. His palpable disappointment at not yet being in a position to perform the complete work was perhaps best summed up in his description of the concert as a “work-in-progress play through”, but this proved to be mere self-deprecation, as Bowyer’s subsequent performance demonstrated superlative skill and profoundly deep understanding and empathy with Sorabji’s material.
                Kevin eventual;ly gave the première of the complete work in June 2010; he played it again in that year's Holland Festival a couple of weeks later and has since played most of it in Iowa. He will give another complete performance in Hamburg later this year.

                Comment

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