SORABJI: Prelude, Interlude, and Fugue. Valse-Fantaisie: Hommage à Johann Strauss. St. Bertrand de Comminges: "He was laughing in the tower." Michael Habermann, piano. MUSIC-MASTERS MMD 60118 (compact disc; 50:55) [distributed by IMC].
By Paul Rapoport
Having reviewed the LP in Fanfare 11:2, pp. 230-32, I would have commented on the CD sooner had my player not conked out entirely, refusing to track anything, then sitting more than five weeks at Philips' for a simple repair. Even more than discs, when players are bad they are horrid (useless). Welcome to all-or-nothing (that's digital).
This is still a superb release of music by the now 95-year-old composer who has resided all his life in England. That, he is quick to point out, does not make him an English composer; indeed, there can scarcely be anything less English than this music.
He was laughing in the tower is perhaps the most engaging item of Sorabji yet recorded; this disc is worth getting if only for that. The transcendental scope and difficulty of his music are present in all these pieces (even though on a scale reduced from his norm) and are handled with complete understanding and conviction by Dr. Habermann.
As the LP (MM 20118) is well recorded, I see no point in paying more for the CD. (Cassette is MM 40118; I haven't heard it.) Nor is there any point in ordering the equivalent Musical Heritage Society items by mail if you can find MusicMasters in stores.
Copyright ©1988 by Paul Rapoport, all rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission