Back to Recordings Reviews
Table of Contents

International Record Review
September 2003

Sorabji
J.S. Bach/Sorabji Transcription in the Light of Harpsichord Technique for the Modern Piano of the Chromatic Fantasia of J. S. Bach, followed by a Fugue. Ravel/Sorabji Rapsodie espagnole. Sorabji Quasi habanera. Passeggiata Veneziana. Symphonic Variations - Variation 56 (arr. composer). Pasticcio capriccioso sopra Op. 64 No. 1 dello Chopin.

Michael Habermann (piano).
BIS CD1306 (full price, 1 hour 8 minutes) Website www.bis.se. Producer Lindsay Habermann Engineer Terry Knight. Dates January 5 and 6th, March 9th and 10th and June 22nd, 2001.

Comparison:
Passeggiata Veneziana: Powell (Altarus) AIR-CD-9067
Pasticcio capriccioso sopra Op. 64 No. 1 dello Chopin: UllÚn (BIS) CD1083 (2000)

It's always fascinating to see what one composer does with another's music. How come that (for example) when Alkan transcribes a Haydn quartet-movement, apparently faithfully, it manages to sound as much like Alkan as Haydn? And Vivaldi by Bach sounds like Bach. So, too, with Sorabji, though the degree of interventionism varies from piece to piece. His 1945 recasting of Ravel's Rapsodie espagnole begins relatively respectfully; a few minor rewritings apart, it's not until the concluding 'Feria' that one senses additional lines beginnning to be draped through the texture. Sorabji's Transcription in the Light of Harpsichord Technique for the Modern Piano of the Chromatic Fantasia of J. S. Bach, followed by a Fugue (1940) out-Liszts Busoni and out-Busonis Liszt; it's a gloriously sonorous re-realization of the piece for the modern concert grand, Sorabji for once almost submerging his own idiosyncrasies to derive maximum benefit from the marriage of the music and its new medium.


Copyright ©2003 by International Record Review, all rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission